An unusually late surge in flu cases this spring should remind everyone that, as far as nasty viruses go, these are unprecedented times. Since the novel coronavirus joined the picture in 2020, what doctors see in their offices and hospital beds has continually bucked the norm.
Now, as medical researchers ponder off-season rises in severe cases of everything from breath-stealing RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) to liver-destroying hepatitis in children, doctors urge COVID-weary Americans to keep their guards up.
See related article on the recent authorization
of COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers.
“This was a very unusual, prolonged influenza season,” said Suchitra Rao, MD, a University of Colorado School of Medicine associate professor and pediatric infectious diseases specialist and hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “We had to extend the period of time that people could get their flu shots.”
Her advice: Keep family members up-to-date on all immunizations, including influenza and COVID-19 shots. With the recent emergency use authorization for the youngest age group, COVID-19 vaccine recommendations now cover all Americans 6 months and older.
Below, Rao discussed how the pandemic has changed the course of some infectious diseases. Her interview was edited for length and clarity.