Cases of a common seasonal virus that can be deadly to young children and the elderly are exploding, according to an East Tennessee Hospital.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the illness as a “common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms,” that “can be serious, especially for infants and older adults.”
The CDC readily admits that the reason for the spike in RSV cases is the lockdowns it imposed on healthy Americans last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Due to reduced circulation of RSV during the winter months of 2020–2021, older infants and toddlers might now be at increased risk of severe RSV-associated illness since they have likely not had typical levels of exposure to RSV during the past 15 months,” a release from the CDC said.
It is uncommon, according to that organization, for RSV to spike during the summer. The virus usually peaks around the holiday season and slows by April.
Last week, the Tennessee Commissioner of Health, Dr. Lisa Piercey, said that she expected pediatric hospitals and intensive care units to fill up with COVID-19 patients.
“Never in my career have I seen hospitals full in the summer,” she said.
Sarah Tanksley, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Health (DOH), was a bit more forthcoming than Piercey. She noted that the state’s pediatric hospitals are not just becoming crowded with youth COVID-19 patients.
“Hospitals are seeing a rise in pediatric [COVID-19] cases as well as respiratory illness we don’t normally see this time of year,” she said.
Alan Levine, CEO of Ballad Health hospitals in Northeast Tennessee, ignored the RSV cases and claimed that COVID-19 alone would fill up the children’s hospitals.
“And children have already died, and others are on ventilators, and ALL OF IT is preventable. So is what’s coming,” he said on Twitter.
And children have already died, and others are on ventilators, and ALL OF IT is preventable. So is what’s coming.
— Alan Levine (@alevine014) August 5, 2021
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “RSV on the rise” by East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.