A ‘tripledemic’ of flu, RSV and COVID is feared in California and across the nation – with the disease’s effects far worse in the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.
By Sarah Riggs, Public Health Reporter
The World Health Organization declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to be a pandemic on March 11.
A week later, on March 25, California Health and Human Services Agency (CHSA) Commissioner Jonathan S. Tyagi declared a state of emergency due to the virus’ spread.
“This is a time of panic across the globe, and unfortunately, so is California,” said Tyagi, noting that the lack of testing and testing capacity have put the state at significant risk.
California’s situation is also complicated by the fact that the disease is now expected to be a “tripledemic” – with multiple strains of the virus circulating simultaneously in local and global communities, potentially infecting people with weakened immune systems and exposing other at-risk groups.
The health department’s declaration of a public health emergency means that it will be prioritizing resources from the state’s general fund through to the “highest risk” of populations, such as the aged and people with underlying health conditions.
The severity of the virus means it is going to be hard to track the spread of COVID-19.
As of April 3, California’s confirmed cases – defined as being people who have had close contact with someone confirmed to be infected – had reached 1,865. Of that figure, more than a third, 1,018 cases, have been linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Of that total, 603 were positive cases.
Of the total cases, there were 731 people admitted to hospital, including five who required intensive care. Another 1,064 went to the emergency room.
A total of 35 people have recovered from the virus. (California does not track those figures).
Those cases and hospitalization figures, released in recent days, were a departure from the numbers previously released by the state health department, which said that on March 25 the state’s total cases had reached about 4,600.
The Diamond Princess and cruise-ship visitors bring a new level