Tripledemic: CDC director in Philadelphia as COVID, RSV, flu cases rise

Many health agencies are teaming up to encourage people to be up to date on their flu shots, as well as their COVID vaccinations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022
CDC director in Philly as COVID, RSV, flu cases rise
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The director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) participated as a speaker at the Bloomberg American Health Summit in Center City.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) was in Philadelphia on Tuesday to participate as a speaker at the Bloomberg American Health Summit in Center City.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky is encouraging people to be proactive and take preventative measures, such as wearing a mask indoors, as respiratory illnesses surge.

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"One need not wait for CDC action in order to put a mask on," said Walensky in a call with reporters Monday prior to the summit.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says face masks should not be worn by children under age 2. It recommends face masks be worn by several groups of people, including those over age 2 who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and by families with babies under 6 months of age who cannot be vaccinated.

Flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are circulating at high levels, as COVID cases are ramping up.

Hospital emergency departments are seeing the strain with all the respiratory diseases going around.

Walensky said masking indoors can help curb the spread of sickness, especially in light of the holiday season and holiday travel.

Walensky said this is especially pertinent in areas with high or very high COVID numbers, which now includes areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and many health agencies are teaming up to encourage people to be up to date on their flu shots, as well as their COVID vaccinations.

Children ages 6 months and older are eligible to get a flu vaccine as well as a COVID-19 vaccine, with "rare exceptions," according to the CDC. Both vaccinations are free and are widely available to doctors' offices and local pharmacies.

Flu activity has been relatively low the last two flu seasons but not this year. While this year's flu shot appears to be a good match the circulating strains, the CDC said vaccinations are lagging compared to previous years.

There is no vaccine for RSV.

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ABC News contributed to this report.