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December 14 2022

The Tripledemic – What You Need to Know

There’s a new term — tripledemic — in the mainstream news. This refers to the threat of three infectious diseases: coronavirus, influenza (flu) and respiratory syncytial virus (R.S.V).

RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover within one to two weeks, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. According to the CDC, RSV appears to have hit peak season and is on a declining trend.

What’s important to know about these three viruses is that they have many of the same symptoms, and it’s hard to identify which one you have without testing. It’s important to see a doctor if you or a child has trouble breathing, pain in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, abdominal pain, or blue lips or face.

Many cities across Delaware and Pennsylvania are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to masking up again. Recently, the Philadelphia School District announced that administrators will look at data to determine if mask policies will return after the holidays and after any extended breaks.

“We have been recommending masking in areas with high COVID-19 community levels. And we have certainly always said that masking is a personal choice. You don’t need to wait for CDC’s recommendation, certainly, to wear a mask,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky in a recent NPR interview.

The CDC recommends everyone ages 6 months and older receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and everyone ages 5 years and older receive the updated (bivalent) booster dose. It’s also important for parents to keep their children updated with vaccines, including for the flu, pneumococcus and pertussis.


“It’s Time to Wear a Mask Again, Health Experts Say.” New York Times. 13 December 2022.

“CDC Director Rochelle Walensky advises on the 'tripledemic.'” 7 December 2022.

'Tripledemic': Philly schools looking at data to determine if masks will return after holidays.” 13 December 2022.

“RSV National Trends.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 7 December 2022.