© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. REUTERS/Tami Chappell/File Photo
(Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday it expects the total number of hospitalizations from COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus infections and flu this year to be similar to last year, higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The government health agency also said it expects flu and RSV infections to increase over the fall and winter seasons.
Vaccines for all three major respiratory viruses – COVID-19, flu, and RSV – will be available this fall, the CDC said.
Higher levels of vaccination across the population will help reduce the number of hospitalizations and risk of straining the country’s hospitals, CDC added.
The CDC on Tuesday signed off on the broad use of updated COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer (NYSE:) and partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ:) as well as Moderna (NASDAQ:) – covering ages 6 months and upward – as the country prepares to start a vaccination campaign within days.
A surge in cases of RSV infections coinciding with an increase in COVID transmission and an earlier-than-normal flu season has raised the specter of a so-called ‘tripledemic’ of respiratory illness across the United States.