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Health experts monitor ‘tri-demic’ as respiratory viruses spread around US

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Health experts monitor 'tri-demic' as respiratory viruses spread around US

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Health experts and government officials are monitoring what’s been dubbed a “tri-demic” as three respiratory viruses rapidly spread around the country.

Health officials are worried the nation’s hospitals could soon be overwhelmed as White House COVID Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha explains there are “three respiratory viruses increasing at the same time: RSV, influenza, COVID.”

John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD says, “these are very contagious viruses too. So, it’s not surprising when one family member gets it another family member gets it. Or at school.”

Around the country, some hospitals already report running low on available beds and that problem could worsen as the temperature drops and people stay indoors, the number of sick patients often rises.

But Dr. Ashish Jha says Americans can help.

“It’s really important to go out and get vaccinated, to go out and get kids vaccinated, protect people so they don’t end up in the hospital,” Dr. Jha said.

While COVID and flu vaccines will make those illnesses less severe, there is no vaccine for RSV. However, infections from the highly contagious virus usually leads to mild symptoms.

But Dr. John Whyte says the exception is very young children.

“Younger kids have smaller airways; their trachea is smaller. So, you are always are concerned when there’s swelling around it,” Dr. Whyte said.

Dr. Whyte says people need to take precautions seriously, like not sending sick kids to school.

“If they have a temperature and they’re not feeling well you’d be better off keeping them home,” Dr. Whyte explained.

Meanwhile, the White House says it is monitoring the situation.

“We have a lot of capabilities to support hospitals if they need it,” Dr. Jha said.