Fears of a ‘tripledemic’ caused by the combination of COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza cases linger as the U.S. heads into winter.
While the pandemic has largely shifted from an emergency phase to a more endemic era, there were still more than 280,000 new cases of COVID-19 last week, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with more than 2,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, RSV cases have been on the rise in recent months, primarily affecting children and concerned parents nationwide. Notably, this included comedian Amy Schumer, whose three-year-old son was recently hospitalized with the infection.
The flu season has kicked off at an aggressive pace, with the CDC reporting that there have been at least 4.4 million illnesses, 38,000 hospitalizations, and 2,100 deaths. Most of the cases have been influenza A(H3N2) viruses, though the agency said that the subtype of influenza A viruses that are A(H1N1) has increased slightly.
“Coming so early in the flu and respiratory illness season, and before the holidays, the data suggests it may be a very challenging winter. We will continue to track the voice of clinicians as an important barometer for U.S. healthcare resources,” Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of Apollo, parent company to InCrowd, said in a recent press release.
In the face of a triple threat of disease, patients have understandably been seeking out advice for how to avoid infection through what could be a challenging winter season. In light of this trend, medical marketers are uniquely positioned to support healthcare brands seeking to keep their patients healthy and out of the hospital.
Dr. Claudia Martorell, a Sermo Medical Advisory Board member and director of The Research Institute, said healthcare communicators should focus on reaching more patients across the board to highlight the risks associated with these three diseases. An equally important aspect of this strategy is addressing vaccine hesitancy among marginalized patient populations.
Martorell said healthcare professionals can clear up confusion for patients by emphasizing how they can prevent infection not only for themselves but also for their loved ones by following preventative measures and seeking out appropriate treatments if they get sick.
By focusing on relaying advice based on data, Martorell said that communicating with patients during a trying time in public health can be an effective move.