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This week in outbreaks, September 7 edition

Flu season inches closer


Respiratory diseases

Covid-19’s summer wave continues to increase.

I had hoped we would see some relief this week, but no luck just yet.

Wastewater concentration is still rising in all four regions of the country, putting it on par with levels last seen in February. (However, wastewater concentration remains below where we were this time last year).

Hospitalizations are also still rising:

  • Now: 17,000 new admissions, a 16% increase in the last week
  • June, our recent low: 6,500 new admissions
  • This time last year: 37,000 new admissions
  • In the month of June  3 months ago, locally White Plains Hospital Medical Center  had 156 persons admited to beds in the hospital, and after being admitted, 91 tested positive for covid– 58% of admissions
  • The percentage of those admitted to a bed for treatment  White Plains Hospital has gone up in three months In the first week of September, August 31 through September 7,  106 patients were  admitted to beds, and after being admitted, 74 were found positive for covid–70%. 

As in previous weeks, the Southern region is most heavily affected. I’m not seeing many signs of slowing there, yet. Florida and Georgia, in particular, have high levels of Covid-19 activity. Parts of the Western region, notably Washington state, are also affected.

Source: CDC

Influenza-like illness is rising, which is somewhat unexpected.

Around 1.7% of visits to the doctor’s office were due to fever and cough or sore throat, which is still below the baseline of 2.5% that marks the beginning of flu season. Still, there has been a gradual increase in activity over the past several weeks. Most of that uptick is attributed to younger age groups, which have seen a sharp rise in influenza-like illness in recent weeks. For instance, children ages 0-4 have seen their rates increase from 4% to nearly 6%, the highest level since May.

To be clear, current ILI activity is far below what we see during the height of flu season, so I’m not ringing the alarm but rather commenting on trends.

Source: CDC

CDC pushed out a Health Alert Network advisory on increased RSV activity in Southeastern states earlier this week. I’ve been reporting on the same trends for several weeks now here on Force of Infection. This week is more of the same, with activity still rising in the Southeastern region. I’m also seeing some signals in the Southwest and Midwest, though it’s too early to tell if they are significant. I’ll let you know how things develop in the weeks to come.

PCR detections of RSV in the Southeastern region. Source.

Rhinovirus/enterovirus activity is way up, according to data from Biofire. That means stuffy noses are in the mix, too. On the bright side, metrics for norovirusadenovirus and the seasonal coronaviruses look good right now.

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