Flu season is here and healthcare workers are already feeling the strain. According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "so far this season, there have been at least 2.8 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and 1,300 deaths from flu." In addition, hospitalization rates are up. CNBC reports. "Flu hospitalizations have surged to a decade high in the U.S. with the Southeast the hardest region right now. Five out every 100,000 people in the U.S. were hospitalized with the flu during the week ending Nov. 5, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's the highest hospitalization rate this early in the flu season since 2010, more than 10 years ago."
Brad Hutton, M.P.H., Public Health Consultant and Infectious Disease Epidemiologist with Hutton Health Consulting tells us, "Our healthcare system, especially hospitals and nursing homes, is experiencing pipeline workforce shortages that have been greatly worsened and accelerated by the pandemic. An early flu season, increased hospitalizations due to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that began in the spring, and continued COVID-19 disease are causing concerns of shortages of hospital beds in most regions of the U.S., especially in pediatric units which were already limited. On November 4th, the CDC issued a Health Advisory urging clinicians across the U.S. to promote COVID-19 and influenza vaccination and to use antivirals to help tamp down the surge."