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Cold And Flu Season Returns With A Vengeance
For most of the United States, next week marks the quasi-official “start” of cold and flu season, that time of year when people are particularly susceptible to various forms of Influenza-Like-Illnesses, or ILI.
For most state and local public health agencies, this means formally tracking and reporting patients who present at hospital with the symptoms of Influenza-Like Illness, and the subset of those who then test positive for influenza virus itself.
Unfortunately for many people, there are indications that this year’s cold and flu season will be particularly obnoxious, with more cases, more hospitalizations, and more deaths.
More than 2,300 patients were admitted to US hospitals during the week ending Oct. 22 for the viral infection and at least one child has died of the flu since the current season began, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US Southeast and South-central regions are hotspots for the outbreak, according to data posted Friday on the CDC website.
While 2,300 patients might not seem like much, when measured against historical data maintained within the CDC’s FluView syndromic surveillance tool, it is significantly above the levels reported during prior years.
Because of the statistical nature of syndromic surveillance, and the tacit understanding that not all cases of influenza-like illness are captured within FluView, the CDC estimates that there have thus far been several hundred thousand cases nationwide.
The cumulative flu hospitalization rate of 1.5 per 100,000 population is the highest seen at this point in the year since the start of the 2010-2011 season, CDC said. Many flu infections and deaths escape reporting, and CDC estimates more than 880,000 illnesses, 6,900 hospitalizations and 360 deaths have taken place in the US so far this season.
Of course, the media will never let a chance to blame any sort of health crisis on COVID-19 to slide by unnoticed, and the onset of this year’s cold and flu season is no exception. In particular, the media and the “experts” have been quick to blame a rise in cases of respiratory syncitial virus (RSV) on the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The theory is that everyone’s now back together, and this is a rebound phenomenon,” said Jeffrey Kline, a physician and associate chair of research for emergency medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.
Kline runs a national surveillance network that gathers data about viral infections from about 70 hospitals, including four pediatric hospitals. He says those data show that 318 children were hospitalized with acute respiratory illness brought on by RSV in the week starting Oct. 9, compared with 45 hospitalizations in the week starting July 25.
In other words, one of the consequences of having isolated and locked down society for weeks on end during the pandemic was that normal exposures to a variety of pathogens, including RSV, were disrupted, with the result that, this year, there are a larger number of immunologically naive children who are now being exposed to the “normal” panoply of pathogens, with a greater incidence of observed illness as direct consequence.
RSV is a particularly troublesome infectious respiratory pathogen, that can pose significant risk to infants and newborns, whose immune systems are still in large measure undeveloped. Itself an highly contagious virus, during cold and flu season it can turn what might otherwise be a minor case of the sniffles into a severe illness for the child.
RSV is a particularly contagious virus that can spread from virus droplets transferred from an infected person's cough or sneeze; from direct contact with the virus, like kissing the face of a child with RSV; and from touching surfaces, like tables, doorknobs and crib rails, that have the virus on them and then touching one's eyes, nose or mouth before hand-washing, according to the CDC.
Immunological naivete exacerbates the severity of an RSV outbreak, as it increases the number of children likely to have severe symptoms.
Nor should we lose sight of the fact that such immunological naivete was a predictable—and predicted—outcome of the lunatic lockdown strategy that was known even at the outset of the lunatic lockdowns.
Encouraging immunological naivete is never good public health strategy, and yet that is exactly what has happened over the past couple of years, and not just here in the US.
COVID-19 is not the cause of a greater incidence of ILI this year; rather, it is the insane and incompetent responses to COVID-19 foisted on the public by pompous, arrogant, and utterly wrong “experts” who have to a man ignored the data, ignored the science, and promoted a propagandistic and ultimately fictional narrative of the COVID-19 “pandemic”1 that have brought about the increased vulnerability among pediatric patients especially. The real "pandemic" surrounding COVID-19 was the staggering amount of medical malpractice promoted as medical "best practice".
The United States may have a particularly severe cold and flu season this winter, and if we do, it will be in large measure a direct consequence of the unhelpful, unwise, and unscientific policies pursued in furtherance of the Pandemic Panic Narrative.
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Hindsight once again having exceptional vision, we should not shy away from acknowledging the reality that the “pandemic” nature of the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus was from the outset largely a creation of the narrative, with the data ultimately failing to sustain the alarmism the narrative labored mightily to foster within the public.