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Top Health Leaders Warn Public of Surging RSV Cases, Ask President to Declare National Emergency

Some of the nation’s top doctors are now urging President Joe Biden to declare a national emergency over RSV. 

It’s a respiratory illness that’s especially severe in young children and the elderly, and hospitals around the Bay Area and nationwide are seeing cases surge. 

The Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics told the Biden administration that “unprecedented levels” of RSV, combined with increasing flu circulation, are pushing some hospitals to the breaking point.

“I feel we may not be seeing the worst of it just yet,” said Dr. Priya Soni, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. “Things sort of lag behind here on the West Coast.

A group of California doctors held a Zoom press conference to explain what they’re seeing. 

“Definitely it’s been growing around. We are seeing a lot of emergency room visits and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Manisha Newaskar, clinical assistant professor at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. 

According to CDC data, infants 6 months and younger are getting hospitalized with RSV at seven times the rate they were back in 2018. 

The doctors also remind parents what they need to look out for. 

“Babies who are born really premature are at higher risk of contracting severe RSV,” said Newaskar. 

“This winter virus typically happens in stages and you’ll maybe see some subtle findings at first,” said Doni. “The baby may not be eating as well. May have some coughing or sneezing.” 

Eric Armann’s son Benji had it two weeks ago. 

So have most of his friends. 

“It’s insane. I know because we’re actually home today because one of his classmates got RSV and it ran rampant through the preschool,” said Armann of Campbell. 

He said Benji is good now, but says the RSV turned into pneumonia. 

Luckily, he didn’t have to go to the hospital. 

“His breathing was terrible, he sounded awful for at least a week and honestly it was really stressful for my wife and I to have to watch our kid go through that,” said Armann. 

Doctors said the best way to avoid RSV is to wash your hands often and avoid touching your face.

If you do get sick, stay home so you don’t spread it to others.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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