As respiratory viruses pressure US well being care programs, Biden administration tells states the way it stands prepared to assist

As respiratory viruses pressure US well being care programs, Biden administration tells states the way it stands prepared to assist


Almost 20,000 individuals in the US had been hospitalized for the flu final week, practically double the variety of admissions from the earlier week, knowledge from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention confirmed on Friday.

The CDC estimates there have been a minimum of 8.7 million sicknesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from the flu this season.

In a letter to governors on Friday, U.S. Well being and Human Providers Secretary Xavier Becerra mentioned the flu and different respiratory viruses are “growing the burden” on the nation’s well being care programs.

In a letter obtained solely by CNN, Becerra wrote that the Biden administration “stands able to proceed to help you with assets, provides and personnel.”

Final month, youngsters’s well being leaders requested the federal authorities to declare a proper emergency to help hospitals and communities amid “an alarming surge in childhood respiratory sicknesses, together with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza, and an ongoing psychological well being emergency.” youngsters’s well being”.

The Biden administration has not declared a flu or flu emergency, however Becerra’s letter describes methods to make use of the COVID-19 public well being emergency declaration to extra broadly tackle the challenges posed by the confluence of COVID-19 and different respiratory and seasonal sicknesses. .

“The administration has used regulatory flexibility to assist well being care suppliers and suppliers proceed to answer COVID-19. These flexibilities, whereas vital to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, also can assist tackle lots of the challenges you face in the course of the unfold of non-COVID-19 illnesses, together with RSV and influenza,” the letter mentioned. “They continue to be out there to you and your healthcare suppliers as you all present care in response to influenza, RSV, COVID-19 and different sicknesses.”

For instance, if a hospital is understaffed because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it may possibly use a waiver that might enable it to extend capability or facilitate the switch of sufferers — even when the sufferers require therapy for a non-Covid-19 situation, such because the flu or RSV.

The letter additionally highlighted out there funding, together with $400 million from the US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention to organize for and reply to public well being threats every year, together with influenza and different respiratory illnesses resembling RSV, in addition to knowledge, evaluation and different assets for planning. collected by the federal authorities. It additionally notes that the federal authorities is monitoring the availability chain for essential medicine and gadgets and that federal well being officers have been interacting with governors for the previous month at a gathering organized by the Nationwide Governors Affiliation.

“As your federal accomplice, we stand prepared to guage any request for federal medical help and help, together with requests for medical personnel and gear, working in shut coordination with you and native jurisdictions to find out wants and availability of applicable assets,” Becerra wrote . .

Flu exercise has been biggest within the South, with scorching spots extending from El Paso to southwest Virginia. All however six states are experiencing “excessive” or “very excessive” ranges of the respiratory virus, and seasonal flu exercise stays “excessive and persevering with to extend,” in keeping with the CDC.

This season, there have been practically 17 flu hospitalizations for each 100,000 individuals, which is normally seen in December or January. The mixture hospitalization price has not been this excessive at this stage of the season for greater than a decade.

The most recent monitoring knowledge seemingly doesn’t mirror the complete impact of the vacation gatherings, as they solely cowl Nov. 26, two days after Thanksgiving.

Whereas the flu continues to rise, RSV is displaying indicators of slowing throughout the nation, however constructive check charges are nonetheless increased than in years previous and cumulative hospitalization charges are about 10 instances increased than regular for this time of the season. Lower than two months in, this season’s RSV hospitalization price is already approaching the full RSV hospitalization price for all the 2018-19 season.

There isn’t any vaccine for RSV, however well being officers have urged individuals to get flu pictures and replace their Covid-19 boosters earlier than winter. This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned of the potential for a vacation and flu season emergency.

“When you will have only a few ICU beds, when you will have virtually all ICU beds occupied, that is dangerous for kids with RSV they usually want intensive care. However it additionally takes up all of the beds, and youngsters who’ve numerous different circumstances that require intensive care or the intensive care unit, they do not have a mattress for that,” mentioned Fauci, director of the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses. CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “So in the event you’re in that scenario, it is approaching an emergency.”

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