We are at the beginning of a new pandemic year. It is already the fourth year that humanity is facing the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus is creating new strains, adapting to humans, and the process is far from over. This also brings new uncertainties, especially caused by the crossing of paths in the circulation of several types of viruses.
A lot was written about the possible overlap of flu viruses and COVID-19 last winter. But in those days, COVID-19 was still strong and dominated throughout the season.
This winter season is a special one
We have the COVID-19 virus, with the entire family of first-generation BA descendants and already with second-generation BB descendants. These strains are highly contagious, and spread very quickly, but cause milder forms of the disease in the general population, especially those vaccinated or already through the disease.
We have influenza viruses, which are quite active and have created epidemics in the past. The WHO has recommended vaccination against H1N1 viruses in the 2022-2023 season; H3N2; and two types of B viruses. So both H1N1 and H3N2 were the causes of the recent flu epidemics of the 21st century.
We also have the respiratory syncytial viruses, the so-called RSV, which in the last season were somehow cannibalized by COVID-19, but in the current season, they have become quite active.
We could say that we are facing a triple epidemic now in Moldova
The positive side is that the pandemic experience can help us not to admit a “domino” effect now, which can lead to a temporary collapse of the health system.
Imagine that the symptoms of all three of these infections are absolutely similar. And the patients with these symptoms will attack the primary medicine, then they will crowd the hospitals, which have already relaxed the mechanisms activated during the pandemic. It can be an unpredictable short-term effect on the healthcare system, disruptive in places, for chronic patients.
The danger of overlapping flu infections with COVID-19 has turned from predictable to real. A large number of patients in Moldova confirms this. Pandemic fatigue and reluctance to simple protective measures magnify the risks of a “domino” effect on the health system caused by this season’s triple epidemic. It is probably good to communicate about these risks and try to pool community efforts to stop this “domino” effect before it is too late.