“Tripledemic” continues across Texas, with some hospitals at full capacity

In Texas, seven children have died from the flu. The disease has killed five adults in Travis County.

AUSTIN, Texas — A “triple disease” is what medical professionals say we’re seeing right now. With the flu, RSV and COVID-19 still circulating, doctors are urging safety to be the top priority.

Travis County is seeing one right now 15.51% flu positivity rate.

“I would say it’s one of the worst outbreaks we’ve ever seen, not necessarily the worst flu itself. And people are unhappy with it, but it’s not the worst,” said Dr. Diana Fite, former President of the Texas Medical Association.

Fite, an emergency room doctor, says the introduction of the coronavirus has reduced our natural immunities.

“The problem is that everyone was masked for about two years and so didn’t get kind of a gradual little immunity to some of the flu and viruses like RSV like they usually do,” said Dr. Fite.

She notes that flu and RSV are nothing new, but now the marriage of the three is putting a strain on hospitals.

She says some Texas hospitals are so full that examinations are even being conducted in waiting rooms. But there is progress.

“RSV has actually been going down fairly steadily since we saw a peak in mid-October. So that’s good news,” said Chris Van Deusen, spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Van Deusen says although the three respiratory illnesses are not uncommon around this time of year.

“Every year, depending on the flu, cold and flu season, we see that hospitals get stressed to some degree because of these types of diseases. And I think this year is no different,” said Van Deusen.

However, so far in Texas, seven children have died from the flu and right here in Travis County, it took the lives of five adults.

“We recommend everyone who is at least six months old to get the flu shot because it is the best protection [from] very seriously ill,” said Van Deusen.

With the kids taking a break, Austin Public Health medical director Dr. Desmar Walkes that it is crucial that the work is done before the children step back into the classroom.

“We hope parents will test children before they go back to school to make sure they are not asymptomatic carriers of COVID,” said Dr. Walkes.

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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/tripledemic-texas-covid-flu-rsv-december-2022/269-45ba85a5-f353-4bcb-8bfc-bbd05f7c3004 “Tripledemic” continues across Texas, with some hospitals at full capacity

Laura Coffey

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