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Experts explain the ‘perfect storm’ of rampant RSV and flu


Future concerns

The future is uncertain, Dr. Messacar and colleagues wrote in The Lancet: “Crucially, the patterns of these returning viral outbreaks have been heterogeneous across locations, populations, and pathogens, making predictions and preparations challenging.”

Dr. Chin-Hong used a horse race analogy to illustrate the situation now and going forward. RSV is the front-running horse, and influenza is running behind but trying to catch up. “And then COVID is the dark horse. It’s trailing the race right now – but all these variants are giving the horse extra supplements.

“And the COVID horse is probably going to be very competitive with the front-runner,” he said.

“We’re just at the beginning of the race right now,” Dr. Chin-Hong said, “so that’s why we’re worried that these three [viruses] will be even more pronounced come later in the year.”

A version of this article first appeared on


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