Call tripledemia —COVID-19, a combination of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus—that has affected the United States for weeks has filled hospital emergency services and prescribed antipyretics and other over-the-counter medications to relieve flu symptoms. Pharmacies have been emptied of medicines. In particular, paracetamol in its various commercial brands – in addition to the private labels of large pharmaceutical chains – has this week become an object of desire after pharmacies were forced to control their sales.
There are also shortages of ibuprofen and antipyretic drugs in general for children, whose demand has skyrocketed due to the incidence of influenza and bronchiolitis. In the last week of November, flu hospitalization rates in the US were the highest in more than a decade, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC; federal health agency), and the most severe cases corresponded to those Were 65 years old and young children. The incidence of respiratory syncytial virus, or bronchiolitis, which has health officials downplayed in the fall, has subsided in recent weeks while the common flu has skyrocketed.
Influenza transmission has reached dramatic levels, according to experts, compared only with the 2009-2010 season, when a new strain of the influenza A virus multiplied causing severe cases among children. In the first week of December, the incidence of influenza per 100,000 children under the age of four was 28.4. The hospitalization rate is three times higher for African-American patients, regardless of age. So far this season, there have been 18 million cases of flu, 8.6 million medical visits, 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths in the country of 330 million residents, according to CDC records.
Although the shortage has not reached the level it has reached this spring, which has literally disappeared from stores due to a bacterial outbreak in the country’s main factory, a shortage of over-the-counter anti-flu products has created a lot of noise in the market. Network. Special pages of notices on where to find paracetamol or ibuprofen for children have spread across social and community networks, especially in smaller towns, where those affected have had to travel many kilometers to find stocks amid a historic storm . Paracetamol has become the new toilet paper, a product that first disappeared from stores when lockdowns began during the pandemic. This is due to a perfect viral storm: an unusually rapid start to flu season, as well as an increase in other respiratory infections caused by rhinoviruses, metanneuviruses, and pneumococcus.
Ashish Jha, coordinator of the White House’s COVID-19 response team, has tried to reassure public opinion, assuring that they are closely monitoring the problem and that manufacturers are working tirelessly, but the respiratory virus Given the high incidence of infection by the virus, production is being outstripped by demand.
Despite the fact that major drug chains have limited their sales to two to five containers per customer, Johnson & Johnson assured in a statement that there is no general shortage of Tylenol for children, the most popular brand, but Its product may be “short available” in some stores. In addition to over-the-counter remedies, the antibiotic amoxicillin is also in short supply, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
With half a million new cases nationwide last week, according to the latest CDC report, all of this coincides with a winter rebound of the coronavirus that has authorities in New York, with nearly nine million residents, head-over-heels. Use masks in crowded places indoors and outdoors, to recommend. Eric Adams, the mayor of the city itself, has invited New Yorkers to protect themselves and the truth is that in recent weeks many more masks have been seen on the streets. Unlike the initial coronavirus vaccination campaign last January, which no one hesitated to describe as a success, the full vaccination ratio, including two booster doses, is low in the Big Apple, ground zero of the pandemic in its day: barely 12%. , just over 23% of those over the age of 65. In many districts of the city, the percentage of the population with a full reinforcement regime does not reach 10%.
In addition to countless mobile units from private labs, the New York Public Health Network’s 75 mobile COVID diagnostic posts are back on the streets, now converted into flu diagnostic posts as well. The former not only perform tests, they also provide treatment to address the symptoms of both diseases, Paxlovid or Tamiflu, respectively. Bivalent booster vaccine doses (for Covid and flu) are accessible to anyone living in New York, whether they have papers or not, but from the initial urgency to fight the pandemic, a year ago now, have co-existed virus, while the infection multiplies with a positivity rate of 15%. Unlike the flu vaccine, which is not covered by the public network, the Covid vaccine is free.
Call tripledemia It’s the latest challenge to New York’s efficient public health network—effective compared to the rest of the country’s medical services, which are all paid for—especially stressed in recent months by an outbreak of monkeypox during the summer. Many Covid detection centers were forced to shut down and now, due to very high positivity percentage, they are starting to function again. The city also has three centers dedicated solely to continuous Covid treatment, but according to officials, more than three million New Yorkers have been infected with the coronavirus since March 2020, and it is estimated that more than 10% They are underutilized between 30%. Some of them may develop symptoms for a long time. Now it is the authorities who persecute imaginary patients through a message on social networks or through advertisements at street shelters or on the subway.
To explain the rise in cases of respiratory infections, a new concept called “immune deficit” has entered public opinion. Because many people protected themselves during the pandemic by using masks and social distancing, the number of cases has increased now that those measures have been eased. The idea is that the immune system is weaker today because it has not been exposed to respiratory viruses since the pandemic began in 2020, which may explain the sharp rise in cases among children. This time, we cannot blame the gripes of supply chains that collapsed trade for a good part of the year, nor the stockpiling of strategic materials, such as masks or protective equipment, by China in the early stages of the pandemic. As infant formula shortages demonstrated this spring, and despite the severity of the current viral wave, not even a superpower like the United States, a haven other than consumption, is free from suffering.
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