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Morning Poll: How many times have you been sick this fall?

Kleenex box (file photo)

(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) It’s been a rough fall for many, healthwise.

Flu and and RSV have been surging, straining hospital capacity, school staff and parental patience. Young children have been particularly hard hit, with the 0-4 age group recording the highest percentage of visits to medical offices for flu, according to the Virginia Dept. of Health.

Nationwide, it’s so bad that some pediatric medical organizations are seeking a federal emergency declaration.

Flu activity in Virginia and in the D.C. region is at the highest level on the CDC’s scale. In Arlington, meanwhile, Covid is still circulating, though at roughly the same level of daily cases as a month ago — 33 cases per day, as of today.

Flu activity map (via CDC)

Local hospitals are feeling the effects. From VHC Health emergency department chair (and 2022 Spirit of Community honoree) Mike Silverman’s latest public social media update:

Although our percent positivity rate is not higher than it was earlier this fall, we have seen an increase in the number of people we are diagnosing with COVID the last few weeks compared to earlier in the fall. We’re also sitting a much higher percent positivity rate then we were this time last year. We are definitely having more positive tests a week than we did a year ago.

The Tripledemic that you’re hearing about on the news is real. The combination of COVID, Flu, and RSV is bringing more people to hospital ERs and causing more hospitalizations than we’ve seen over the last few years. Every year, emergency departments face a month or so of surging volumes because of the flu. I have seen flu surges in the fall, and I have seen them in March. Prior to the pandemic, I had never had a year as an attending physician without some sort of impact by a flu surge. What has me concerned about this year is how early the flu has impacted our community and the potential for how long the ER volume surge will continue. What’s to say we will not see an increase in COVID this winter as we did last winter?

Despite many continuing to work from home, people are still socializing, going to school and traveling, arguably more so than this time last year. It’s almost as if the non-Covid diseases that had been relatively quiet during the pandemic are now “catching up.”

Given how much disease is circulating out there, today we are wondering: how many separate times have you gotten sick already this fall?

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