About 20,000 people in the United States were hospitalized with the flu last week, nearly double the number of hospitalizations in the previous week, according to data updated Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC estimates that at least 8.7 million people got sick, 78,000 were hospitalized and 4,500 died from the flu this season.
In a letter to state governors on Friday, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said influenza and other respiratory viruses are “adding strain” to the nation’s healthcare system.
In a letter obtained exclusively by CNN, Becerra wrote that the Biden administration “stands ready to continue supporting you with resources, supplies and personnel.”
Last month, children’s health leaders warned the federal government of “an alarming surge in childhood respiratory illnesses such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, and an ongoing children’s mental health emergency.” Amid the situation, we called for a formal state of emergency declaration to support hospitals and communities.
Although the Biden administration has not declared a public health emergency for respiratory syncytial virus or influenza, Becerra’s letter applies the declaration of a public health emergency for Covid-19 to prevent Covid-19 and other It outlines ways to more broadly address the challenges posed by the confluence of respiratory diseases. seasonal illness.
“The administration has exercised regulatory flexibility to help health care providers and suppliers continue to respond to COVID-19. But it can also help address many of the challenges we face during the spread of non-COVID-19 diseases, such as RSV and influenza,” the letter said. “You and your health care providers remain available to ensure care is available in response to influenza, RSV, COVID-19, and other illnesses.”
For example, when hospitals are understaffed exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing greater tolerance and easier patient mobility even when patients require non-Covid-19 care Exemptions may be used. such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus.
The letter also noted available funding, including $400 million from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to prepare and respond to annual public health threats, including respiratory diseases such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, as well as data, analyzes, and other planning resources. compiled by the federal government. Also, the federal government is monitoring his chain of supply for critical medicines and equipment, and federal health officials have been engaging with the country’s governors through conferences hosted by the National Governors Association this past month. also mentions
“As your federal partner, we stand ready to evaluate requests for federal medical assistance and support, including requests for medical personnel and equipment. We will work closely with jurisdictions to determine the need and availability of matching resources,” Becerra wrote. .
Influenza activity is highest in the South, with epidemics extending from El Paso to southwestern Virginia. Respiratory virus levels are “high” or “very high” in all but six states, and seasonal flu activity is “high and continues to increase,” according to the CDC. is.
Nearly 17 people per 100,000 have been hospitalized with the flu this season, a rate typically seen in December or January. Cumulative hospitalization rates haven’t been this high at this point in the season in over a decade.
The latest monitoring data was recorded only up to November 26th, two days before Thanksgiving, so it may not fully reflect the impact of the holiday gathering.
Flu continues to rise, but RSV shows signs of slowing nationwide, but positive test rates are still higher than they were a few years ago, and cumulative hospitalization rates are about 10 times higher than normal at this point in the season. It is Less than two months later, his RSV hospitalization rate this season is already approaching his combined RSV hospitalization rate for the entire 2018-19 season.
There is no vaccine for RSV, but health officials are urging people to vaccinate against the flu and get the latest Covid-19 boosters for the winter. With the holiday season and flu season beginning, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that emergencies could occur this week.
“When beds in intensive care units barely move, when almost all intensive care units are occupied, it is bad for children with RSV who need intensive care. Children who occupy beds and have many other ailments that require intensive care and ICUs don’t have beds for them.” Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS. “So when you get into that situation, it’s approaching an emergency.”