Not much posting this week because I’ve been sick – as have many others lately. So I thought I’d take a look at the three similar causes of illness currently going around. Local data’s harder to come by – state data is more readily available so I’m using that.
The first is Covid. Covid is mostly lingering. Cases in PA have continued a slow decline starting in August with no indication its been affected by the start of school or cooler weather. Locally, Covid spiked at the college last week, hitting double digits for the first time since the second week of the semester, but that isn’t reflected in other data.
The second is influenza. Since the spread of influenza is also reduced by masking, social distancing and other measures taken during Covid, influenza was expected to make a roaring comeback as health guidance for Covid waned. And, its made a fast comeback, with cases rising earlier in the year than expected. Unfortunately, vaccine hesitancy has undercut flu vaccination rates (and is bringing back measles and polio too). Cases of respiratory illness are reaching levels that will require the CDC to add new colors to their map in southern states. Fortunately, PA is not in that situation yet.
The third disease causing concern is RSV, another respiratory illness that can be dangerous for young children. The CDC has a page about it here. RSV is rising almost in line with influenza cases in PA, which is causing concern for hospitals.
Any one of these three illnesses would be manageable, but having all three circulating at once is causing concerns for hospitals. Here in DelCo the problem is compounded by hospitals closing. Outgoing state DA Shapiro is seeking a contempt order against Crozer for closing emergency services at Delaware County Memorial Hospital. Crozer was under a court injunction to maintain services, but then the state department of health forced them to close due to insufficient staffing. The county is supporting Shapiro’s actions to keep DCMH open. With Springfield hospital’s emergency services also shuttering, it’s a bad time to be facing multiple illnesses simultaneously as we are now.