WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Public health officials are urging appropriate precautions before Thanksgiving to help slow the spread of coronavirus and respiratory viruses.
“COVID is still with us, albeit at a much lower level,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, reminded.
He said people should get vaccine booster shots and take a COVID-19 test before gathering for the holiday. He also advised strict adherence to standard hygiene practices amid an unusually aggressive sure in influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, more commonly known as RSV.
“Wash your hands frequently because that virus, RSV, can actually stick on surfaces for a while,” Fauci said.
He added that if you’re visiting someone who is especially vulnerable to infections, a mask remains a helpful tool to slow the spread of disease.
A large number of kids with RSV has pediatric hospitals stretched thin on resources and staff. It can be serious in adults, too.
“I know there’s a lot of talk about RSV in pediatric populations … but I’m attending in the ICU now (and) I have two adults with RSV infections,” Dr. David Hill, a pulmonary and critical care physician in Connecticut, said.
He said hospitals simply can’t afford rapid spikes in patient numbers.
“The combination of three really serious viruses in circulation at a time when people are traveling and gathering together in larger groups is really frightening,” he said. “Our ICUs, we are chronically understaff now. We’re still recovering from the pandemic.”
He said even if you’re nor concerned about yourself, you should think of health care workers and your loved ones.
“You don’t want to give a loved one RSV or the flu,” he said. “Either of those can be very serious.”