There is growing concern among infectious disease and public health experts that the US could face even more respiratory infections in January.
It is “highly likely” that respiratory viruses could spread even more following holiday gatherings and New Year’s Eve celebrations, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Monday.
“These are highly contagious viruses – and people have generally put Covid-19 and Covid vaccination behind them. They haven’t been all that attentive to flu. They’re not wearing masks,” Schaffner said. “And if you’re close together with other people, it’s an opportunity for all three of these viruses – flu, Covid, and even RSV – to spread from one person to another. So, we do expect a post-holiday surge in these viruses.”
At the same time, across the country, there has been a wave of flight cancellations and families stuck at the airport during their holiday travels.
When that happens, “People are together for very long periods of time, and they’re not wearing masks, and they’re weary and tired and stressed, and those are occasions where people are more apt to spread the virus,” Schaffner said, adding that his own granddaughter had four flights canceled over the holidays. He recommends masking up while in the airport and on an airplane.
“I think all of us in infectious diseases and public health would recommend that masks are not perfect, but they are an additional …….