It’s no surprise that the prevalence of respiratory illnesses continued its upward slant in the waning days of 2023. Respiratory illness indicators surged across two-thirds of the nation, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), particularly impacting the Midwest and Northeast, where COVID cases were prevalent. COVID hospitalizations rose by 16.7%, causing 29,000 admissions, contributing to a 10% increase in deaths. The Midwest and Northeast reported moderate to high COVID-related impact. CDC noted heightened respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) illness and hospitalizations across much of the country. Additionally, flu activity increased, notably in the Southeast and New Mexico, with flu-related hospitalizations rising among seniors. The CDC’s hospital surveillance systems recorded about 14,700 people admitted to the hospital for flu during the week ending December 23, 2023. Seven new pediatric flu deaths were reported, reaching a total of 20 for the current season.
Demand is high but manageable: Hospital bed occupancy and capacity, including within intensive care units, remain stable nationally, CDC said. The next round of data is scheduled for release on January 5, and ongoing updates in January are expected to include the effects of Americans gathering for the holidays and likely transmitting respiratory illnesses all the more.