In an average year, 35 states reporting “high” or “very high” levels of influenza would be concerning. In the 2022–23 flu season, with record levels of respiratory syncytial virus and new variants COVID-19 continuing to emerge, it’s downright alarming. That’s where we are, though, according to the latest Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The situation is so dire in the Pacific Northwest that KOIN News invoked the T word in a story about the work urgent care centers are doing to keep the public safe: Tripledemic Fills Portland Urgent Care Centers. That piece quotes Andrew Miller, MD, chief medical officer at AFC Urgent Care Portland, as suggesting that gatherings related to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend may be stoking increases in viral activity. Intuitively, that could mean another wave of cases related to the family- and travel-oriented winter holidays is still ahead. With the ability of current vaccines to prevent illness due to emerging subvariants of COVID-19 unclear at this time, urgent care operators may need to prepare their staff for an arduous few months ahead.
The Threat of a Tripledemic Is Getting More Real—and Urgent Care Is on the Front Lines