Flu is predicted to arrive around Christmas and in the case of covid-19 in January.
Public Health Minister Carmen Cabezas expects childhood bronchiolitis cases to peak by the end of next week. This is the circulating respiratory virus that worries paramedics the most, and it arrived 3 to 4 weeks earlier than usual.
Cabezas also announced that flu cases are expected to peak at Christmas, and that they predict it will come in January in the case of covid-19. The Minister of Public Health has called for vaccination against flu and covid-19 as there is “room for improvement”. “I wish the vaccination rate was a little bit faster,” he said.
This week, pending data for this Sunday, the cases recorded for bronchiolitis continued to increase from the previous one, reaching approximately 1.7% and a total of approximately 1,900 cases. “It’s a significant wave,” he said, with higher numbers than in other years. Cabezas stated that this virus is the virus that “started the epidemic season” with the most rising virus, while the covid-19 virus continues “quite stable”.
The virus of greatest concern is bronchiolitis, as it “is at very high epidemiological levels and causes a very significant impact on care.” This year the virus arrived about 3-4 weeks earlier than usual, which is mid-December. According to Cabezas, this occurred because the circulation of the covid-19 virus meant that the status of respiratory viruses had changed.
According to health forecasts, the peak of bronchiolitis cases will come by the end of next week, but Cabezas noted there is a “margin of uncertainty” just because the virus behaved differently this fall. About 10% of bronchiolitis cases require hospital and intensive care, and hospitals with pediatric care are at “maximum capacity”.
Regarding the flu, the virus also arrived earlier and was already in circulation in August. “We’re already at epidemic levels, we’ve been rising for a few weeks, the levels are still low, but the increase has been cascading,” said Cabezas, who spotted the peak of flu cases at Christmas. Regarding covid-19, Salud predicts that if the virus behaves like last year, it will peak in January.
Reminding that there are flu and Kovid-19 vaccines, Cabezas was upset that he would have liked the vaccination rate to be “a little faster” in this sense. Currently, 71% of people over 80 and 47% if we count all people over 60 are vaccinated for the second dose of covid-19. Regarding the flu, 68 percent of those over 80 and 47 percent of those over 60 are vaccinated. “We have room to improve,” Cabezas said, inviting the public to get vaccinated.
The Minister of Public Health stressed that this year’s flu vaccine “paired well” with the two circulating strains of the virus. Cabezas also noted that the second booster dose for covid-19 multiplied the protection against the currently circulating variant by 9. “If we are called to get vaccinated, the best time is now. It would have been better a few weeks ago, but if not now is the time.” Health is not considering setting up no-appointment vaccination points because the population that needs vaccinations is “too accustomed to using healthcare.”
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