Doctors concerned about “tripledemic” ahead of holidays

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 5:42 PM CST
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - The season of giving might have a different meaning this year with different illnesses like COVID and the flu being passed around schools and offices.

In what is being called a “tripledemic,” many areas are seeing high numbers of COVID, the flu, and RSV.

With COVID it is mainly being seen in the elderly as Dr. Stephan Woodruff, who is the chief medical officer with NEA Baptist Memorial Hospital, said you can see it even more in a certain demographic.

“The booster shots are wearing off, and a lot of the seniors, particularly a lot of people in institutions, have not had all 5 shots,” Woodruff said.

He said many times in senior living facilities, it gets spread around even more, which has been a similar issue with the flu this year as Woodruff said he is seeing fewer people with the shot.

“I think as a general rule, a lot of people were like “Oh my, another shot” and I think everyone feels that way to some extent,” Woodruff said.

While shots are down, cases around the country are up. According to the CDC, in the week ending Nov. 26, there were more than 34,000 positive flu tests, the highest number since 1997.

Woodruff said they have seen a lot of children test positive and credits that to weaker immune systems that have built up over the last couple of years because of wearing masks and isolation.

“I don’t think they have been in contact with as much virus load as they would’ve had if they were normally around each other all the time,” Woodruff said.

He said with the holidays right around the corner, it’s important to get all your shots, especially if you plan on spending time with older relatives.