We have been so careful with Covid precautions that we are now vulnerable to other respiratory ilnesses
“Please test her for the new Corona virus!, ” I begged when I arrived with my sick daughter at our local hospital here in the Seattle area. It was at the beginning of 2020.
It was a different time than the one we now live in. The new virus that ended up ravaging the whole world wasn’t really on people’s radar yet. My daughter was sick—coughing, running a high fever, and showing all the signs of the disease I had heard about on the news – a virus, mind you, where the first detected case in America was a few miles from my home.
It turned out that my daughter had RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus). The symptoms are largely identical to both flu and Covid, and after a week at home, where we back then found it rather unfamiliar that she had to wear a mask, she recovered. That same week, the public schools in our school district closed – 540 days passed before she was back in a classroom.
This happened before the full-on outbreak of the pandemic, that ended up putting its clammy, suffocating hands on the world’s population. Still, and I have to say this even though most probably share my burnt-out Covid fatigue, the consequences of the pandemic are far from over.
Seattle Children’s Hospital reports that their capacity is at 200% compared to the same time last year. There is no treatment for RSV, although, ironically, it was research into an RSV vaccine treatment that laid the foundations for the Covid vaccines. For now, the hospitals can only provide relief when a child is admitted with RSV and help with oxygen to help children breathe.
In Denmark, you also see an increase in RSV, the flu numbers are in a normal range, and there is a decrease in positive PCR tests, but an increase in the waste water tests. Is Denmark facing the same development as we see here in the USA?
The authorities in the US are nervous. Covid, flu numbers, which are estimated to be high, and RSV, which is affecting more widely due to a lack of herd immunity. We have been isolated, wearing masks, working from home for so long that, all in all, we face an autumn and a winter with a high proportion of sick people and a strain on our healthcare staff.
The lack of herd immunity is due to the fact that many have worn masks, kept their distance, and worked from home for the last two winters. Our immune systems are not strong enough, so flu and other raspatory illnesses will hit earlier and harder.
Most adults manage RSV without problems and recover after a week or two of cold-like symptoms. Recovering is not as easy for the youngest and oldest citizens, who can develop pneumonia and bronchitis.
In normal times, i.e. before Covid, which, frankly, is hard to remember, children are exposed to a number of viruses in their first two years of life. But because we have been so successful here in wearing a mask and keeping a distance, the children are exposed to clusters of viruses at the same time – which means more serious symptoms and disease progression.
Hospitals from other states are contacting my state, Washington, daily to see if we have bed capacity at our children’s hospitals – all hospitals in the US are under pressure – medical professionals are facing a season where their capacity is pushed to the limit. RSV and influenza have not changed, but we have – because we did the right thing and followed CDC guidelines and the guidelines of our state officials in an effort to protect our children and the elderly.
So, I continue using my disinfecting wipes on surfaces, wash my hands, and tell my kids to do the same. And then I ask myself: when will it end? How many years will pass before we and our children no longer pay the price for the pandemic we so wanted to protect our loved ones from?
Tri-demi? covid, influenza og RS hærger USA
Vi har været så påpasselige med covid, at vi er blevet sårbare for andre sygdomme.