US faces more severe flu season, RSV, pandemic threats

Commuters wear face masks while riding the subway in New York, June 6, 2021. (TED SHAFFREY / AP)

LOS ANGELES / NEW YORK / MOSCOW – The United States is facing a more severe flu season this year, coinciding with an increase in COVID-19 transmission and a surge in cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The COVID-19 cases caused by new variants are growing fast in the United States, data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show

The flu has arrived significantly earlier this year, causing more hospitalizations at this point in the season than in the past decade, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The southeast and south-central areas of the country reported the highest levels of flu, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates that, so far this season, there have been at least 880,000 flu illnesses, 6,900 hospitalizations, and 360 deaths from flu nationwide.

Health experts warned a "tripledemic" of respiratory illness this winter caused by an earlier-than-normal flu season, a surge in RSV cases and increase in COVID transmission.

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In particular, RSV infections among young children are filling some US hospitals to capacity.

Moreover, the COVID-19 cases caused by new variants are growing fast in the United States, CDC data show.

Two new variants, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1, have been growing especially fast. At the beginning of October, each one accounted for about 1 percent of new infections in the United States, but they have been roughly doubling in prevalence each week.

According to the latest CDC data, the two variants accounted for more than one in four new COVID-19 infections nationwide.

More than 17 percent of women have had long COVID at some point during the pandemic, compared with 11 percent of men, CNBC on Monday cited data from US Census Bureau and National Center for Health Statistics published in October.

Long COVID was defined as experiencing symptoms for three months or more after infection. The most recent data was collected through an online survey of more than 41,000 adults during the two weeks ending Oct 17, according to the report.

Women were also more likely to suffer from more severe long COVID, the survey found. Some 2.4 percent of all women had symptoms that significantly limited their normal activities, compared with 1.3 percent of men, said the data.

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Russia has recorded 5,252 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 21,434,758, the official monitoring and response center said Tuesday.         

The nationwide death toll increased by 72 to 390,247, while the number of recoveries increased by 9,308 to 20,812,505.