The White House’s Covid coordinator urges people to get vaccinated before the holidays

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha at the White House in Washington, Oct. 25, 2022.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

As Covid and flu hospitalizations have increased in the weeks since Thanksgiving, White House Covid-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said families will be safer at upcoming holiday gatherings if they get their vaccinations up to date.

This year, hospitals are facing the simultaneous threat of Covid, flu and RSV for the first time. Circulation of influenza and RSV was very low during the pandemic due to widespread masking and social distancing implemented in response to Covid, but as most people return to normal life, all three viruses are circulating widely.

From December. On the 14th, the 7-day average of new weekly Covid cases reached 65,067, a decrease of 2.9% from the previous week, according to CDC data.

“The good news here is that we can prevent these infections from becoming serious illnesses if people go out and get the updated bivalent vaccine,” Jha said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

Public health officials have said many people are likely more vulnerable to the flu and RSV this year because they haven’t been infected in the past two years, which means their immunity is lower. About 23,503 patients were hospitalized with the flu this week, the CDC reported, while RSV hospitalizations appear to have peaked in some states.

According to the CDC, hospitalizations of people with Covid exceed 5,000 daily on average.

“The updated vaccine is essential to keep people out of the hospital,” Jha said. “So we’re arguing that we’re at a point where it’s safe to meet, but you still have things to do.”

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