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‘Rapid’ Flu Increase, Another COVID-19 Uptick

The latest on COVID-19, RSV, and Flu

January 02, 2024

Rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and a rapid increase in flu cases have public health leaders urging precautions coming out of the holiday season.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • In Pennsylvania:  The flu is increasing rapidly in the commonwealth, with 47,358 confirmed cases to date through Saturday. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has begun to come down from its peak but remains high, and new COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase (1,295 in the week ending December 23).
  • Mortality:  There have been 894 COVID-19-related deaths this season-to date and 31 flu-related deaths.
    • During late December 2020, 35 percent of all U.S. deaths were related to COVID-19. During the week ending December 23, about 4 percent of deaths were related to the virus.
  • Nationally:  Nationally, COVID-19 emergency department visits (+12%), hospitalizations (+16.7%), and deaths (+10%) are all up for the week ending December 23.
  • Wastewater:  Elevated COVID-19 levels in our wastewater systems are raising concerns about the spread of the virus following several weeks of holiday gathering.   
  • Quotable:  “If more Americans are protected against severe respiratory illnesses, we will likely see fewer hospitalizations. Lives can be saved,” the CDC noted in an alert last month.

HAP continues to urge everyone to take the public health precautions to help limit the spread of respiratory illnesses during 2024. This includes staying home when sick, getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu, and talking with your doctor about the latest RSV treatments and vaccine. If you are feeling sick, contact your health care provider to learn more about your treatment options.

Additional information about respiratory virus season is available online.