The leading U.S. health officials have finally acknowledged that the outbreak restrictions they support are the result of a surge in respiratory bugs in hospitals that are now overcrowded.
Unseasonably high numbers of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases have overwhelmed health care systems across the country.
There are signs that both viruses may already be at their peak, but last week the country suffered more damage as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was investigating an increase in severe Strep A infections. It has killed more than ten children in the UK and is on the rise across Europe.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, the CDC said it is ‘hearing from some doctors and state health departments about an increase in IgA infections in children in some parts of the United States and is investigating this increase.’
In a dramatic change of tone, the agency added: ‘As with other infections during the Covid-19 pandemic, iGAS infections have declined significantly.
‘Mitigating measures used during the first two years of the Covid-19 pandemic (eg, school and workplace closures, masks) have helped reduce the spread of many viruses and bacteria.’
This map shows where Strep A infections have occurred in the US so far. A children’s hospital in Texas says it’s seeing four times more babies with strep A than it did this time last year. The CDC confirmed only ‘suggestive reports’ of increasing infections in the US
But the CDC says it’s unclear whether there are more infections this year than in previous years, or if the wave is hitting the U.S. earlier than usual.
Immune rabies have contributed to a ‘tripledemic’ outbreak in the US this year, with RSV and the flu both rekindling this summer along with Covid.
Bacterial infections such as Strep A often strike after viral infections, because a person’s immune system is weakened and cannot fight the bacteria effectively.
Alarms have been raised that Strep A infections could be more deadly this year than in the past, after 19 people died in severe cases in the UK.
In general, it is a simple disease that is very dangerous for the elderly. The CDC estimates that 14,000 to 25,000 Americans are infected and 1,500 to 2,300 die each year.
At least two children have died of Strep A in Colorado in recent weeks, raising fears that the US could be hit with a pediatric epidemic similar to what is happening in the UK.
In a more worrying sign, doctors in Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Washington and West Virginia are reporting an increase in serious strep A infections this year.
The CDC doesn’t track infections the way it tracks viral diseases like Covid, influenza, and RSV, but national infection and death figures are unclear.
Symptoms of strep A include a rash and sores all over the body, flushed cheeks, sore throat, muscle aches, and fever. It is a relatively mild disease that does not cause many deaths in children every year
America’s triad has already peaked: flu cases have dropped 30% in a week
The feared ‘tripledemic’ in the US appears to be short-lived, with weekly flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) figures already falling.
Today’s weekly influenza report shows that there were more than 30,000 confirmed flu infections nationwide in the week ending December 10.
While this is preliminary data, it’s down 30 percent from last week, when the number of people infected fell for the first time since the flu season began.
Meanwhile, Dr Ashish Jha said at a White House press conference on Thursday that RSV infections had already started to go down ‘rapidly’ and have risen.
Fears of a so-called ‘triple bleed’ first surfaced in the summer when Australia and New Zealand – whose winters are during the American summer – faced devastating flu seasons.
Experts point to lockdowns, mask orders and other pandemic orders over the past two years as reasons why this year’s flu season has been more brutal than in the past.
Dr. Kathryn Moffett, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at West Virginia University Medicine in Morgantown, told DailyMail.com that her hospital is seeing more cases than usual.
Her hospital, the largest in the state, was seeing more children than usual in early December.
In previous years, she blamed unusual types of flu — viruses like influenza and RSV that rarely spread.
‘We stopped going viral. We didn’t have the usual. [circulation] Where to expect RSV and pneumonia [in young children]” she told DailyMail.com.
We have done a lot with social distancing and masks [caused this].
Doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, the state’s largest pediatric hospital, have reported a fourfold increase in strep infections this year compared to pre-Covid levels.
Doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital reported a sharp increase in cases. NBC last week.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, officials say children between the ages of 10 months and six years are being hospitalized with complications from Strep A more often than usual.
The Amoxicillin shortage currently hitting the country is exacerbating the situation.
Antibiotics are often used in children with illnesses such as the flu and RSV to prevent bacterial infections from developing soon after.
Supply chain problems and increased demand due to an unusually brutal flu season have left the drug in short supply across the US.
In the year America’s brutal flu season, dubbed the worst since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, has some experts hoping it will end soon.
The CDC reported 31,287 confirmed flu infections in the week ending Dec. 10 — a 30 percent decrease from the previous week.
RSV cases also continued to decline sharply, with the 4,391 reported cases down 63 percent from last week — and the lowest total since late September.
As annual stressors fall, Covid begins to rise again. The United States recorded 65,550 daily infections last week, a 26 percent increase over the past two weeks.
Over the past two weeks, the death toll has risen 63 percent to 408 per day.