New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) said simultaneous surges of COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) have created an “extremely challenging” health situation for the city.
The city indicated flu cases are already higher than they were during the peak each of the past four years, also noting increases over the past month in COVID-19 and RSV cases.
“This year, particularly around the flu, from the briefing we received, the numbers are higher than it traditionally is around this year,” Adams said at a Tuesday news conference. “When you combine it with the other elements that we are facing, the other RSVs, COVID-19, it just makes it extremely challenging for New Yorkers. But we can get it done right if we get covered.”
City officials earlier this month advised the public to wear masks when indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.
“I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to keep up with their vaccinations, to utilize free testing resources available citywide, to wear masks as advised, to stay home if sick, and to maintain good hand hygiene,” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said in a statement. “The holiday season is a wonderful time of year to gather with friends and family, and we want to embrace our loved ones this year knowing we have taken all the steps possible to keep us all safe and healthy.”
Reported COVID-19 cases nationwide remain below levels seen at other points in the pandemic, but this winter marks the first in multiple years that many people have fully resumed normal activities, which health experts say has contributed to high levels of the other illnesses.
Some have dubbed the simultaneous surges a “tripledemic.”
The situation has at times led some hospitals to hit capacity, and CVS and Walgreens this week began limiting the amount of child pain medication that customers can buy at once as demand for the medications surged.
The White House’s COVID czar has indicated people should still gather for the holidays, while urging them to get vaccinated and take advantage of testing.
The Biden administration reopened a portal for Americans to receive free COVID-19 tests shipped to their homes last week after previously pausing the program, citing a lack of funding.