Previous common diseases are recovering after a Covid break
A digitally colored transmission electron microscope (TEM) image of individual norovirus particles Image: CDC / Charles D. Humphrey
As Covid-19 wears off in the US and people return to their old habits, once routine infectious diseases are predictably re-emerging after being suppressed by pandemic precautions for a year.
On Thursday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention problematic a southern health care provider warning them of a recent surge in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases. As a result, they called for “wider testing for RSV in patients with acute respiratory disease who tested negative” on Covid-19.
RSV isn’t the only previously common infection that appears to be on the rise. On Tuesday, health officials in Minnesota warned a “significant” increase in norovirus, the highly contagious food germ. Seattle health officials reported within a week not one but two King County Norovirus Outbreaks. Connecticut Experienced its own norovirus cluster last month. And both, according to national surveillance data RSV and Norovirus have seen an increase in detection by test labs recently, at least in some regions.
These diseases are not entirely harmless, especially for more vulnerable groups. RSV is the leading cause of pneumonia in children under the age of 1 and efforts have continued to be made to address one effective vaccine. And like anyone who was unlucky enough to have it Norovirus It’s known that it’s not the type of illness that usually kills you, but the symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps could make you want it. Still, RSV is little more than a cold to the vast majority of the population, and the typical effects of either disease are nothing like the devastation caused by Covid-19, which killed at least over 600,000 Americans in the past year and a half. (According to the CDC, RSV kills an average of 14,000 Americans a year – though that’s likely outnumbered – and norovirus kills an average of 900.)
The pandemic had a little silver lining as it increased the incidence of more horticultural infections, including the seasonal flu, mainly by changing our behavior. Distancing and other interventions like wearing masks, albeit not foolproof, to stop the spread of Covid-19 reduce the amount of other germs we spit on each other’s faces or on food.
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Of course, all this extra caution is not without its burden, and many people, especially those who have been vaccinated, like to return to their old habits. Despite some legitimate concerns about the emergence of new coronavirus variants such as Delta, which was first found in India, and the slow rate of daily vaccinations in the US, the pandemic here is still on the rise Downturn. (Unfortunately, it will remain a threat worldwide until vaccination rates are high everywhere.)
Returning to normal socializing won’t be entirely risk-free, as these recent outbreaks of non-covid infections should remind us. But in a weird way, they’re the newest sign that nature is healing.