WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — There is a COVID/RSV combo brewing in South Florida as we head into the fall season.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your family?
School is back in session in Florida, and the COVID-19 numbers are creeping higher.
Several weeks ago, the state-wide infection rate was hovering right around 19%. Now, a few weeks into the school year, that average sits at 24%.
It means nearly one in four Floridians are positive for COVID-19 right now.
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“That’s why I want to urge the public to consider, with this uptick in numbers of both COVID and RSV, to utilize the vaccines as much as possible,” Dr. Leslie Diaz, a Palm Beach County infectious disease specialist, said. “And now that the RSV vaccine is out, if you’re over age 60, I tell these individuals definitely go and get it.”
Diaz was on the front lines in South Florida, battling the very first wave of COVID-19 in 2020.
She said the virus has mutated as expected and is much less virulent, but her COVID-19 patients — post-infection — are now starting to complain of something else.
“They’re not achy. They don’t have muscle aches. They don’t have joint aches. They don’t have fevers, but they just feel like their stamina is down,” Diaz said. “With time, stamina gets better, but in some individuals, a month out, they’re still not struggling, but they do see a difference.”
She said just like the first wave, seniors are most at risk while the younger ones are rebounding quickly. But with RSV now in the mix this fall, it’s the seniors who need to take action, according to the doctor.
“Patients have come in with dual infection, and they are sicker. There’s no question,” Diaz said. “Both in the more pronounced hypoxia, the pneumonia and the chest x-rays or CAT scans, so there is no doubt there is a certain degree of concern in that individual.”