With winter coming up and Thanksgiving coming up in less than two weeks, doctors are warning that the U.S. could face a “tripledemic” or an increase in three respiratory illnesses.
“When we say ‘tripledemic’ what we mean is that we’re seeing high cases of RSV, high cases of influenza, and we expect we’re going to see high cases of COVID as well,” Dr. Kevin Smith said.
In terms of COVID, Chicago and six surrounding counties have moved from a “low” community level to a “medium” level. This means that the number of cases, new hospital admissions, and capacity have all gone up.
Dr. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, says that respiratory viruses like the flu, RSV, and COVID-19 are “spreading rapidly” across the state. He also says that the number of flu hospitalizations in the U.S. is at its highest level in a decade.
The CDC’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Report from the week ending November 5 said that flu activity in Illinois was “high” This was based on the most recent data from that week.
Smith said, “It’s not a surprised to me that we’re started to see some higher numbers,” “We knew this was going to happen as we started to move towards the winter season.”
Since the COVID vaccine is easy to get, health officials are telling people to make sure they are up-to-date on their shots before big holiday gatherings.
Smith said, “Number one is get vaccinated against COVID and the flu,” “Even if its not a perfect match to the variants of COVID that are floating around or the variants of the flu that are floating around, the vaccines will give immunity to you, that will help protect.”
The Chicago Department of Public Health also says that if you have symptoms, you should get tested and follow the rules for staying away from other people. Some students at the University of Illinois Chicago already do this and other things to keep themselves safe.
Student Gilles Kone said, “You can just wear your face mask when you go to class, and you’ll be fine,”
Nunayon Avoesh, a student, said, “Everyone are putting up with safety precautions, you know,” “I think with time, things are going to get better.”
If you live in Chicago and want to get vaccinated against COVID or the flu, the city has a program that will bring the vaccines right to your home. Here is where you can find out more.
The Chicago Department of Public Health is hosting a clinic offering flu shots and COVID boosters, this weekend.
On Saturday, November 12, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the clinic will be held at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.
People can just show up, or they can sign up at http://www.chicago.gov/covidvax.