Flu sick influenza tissues man
Flu sick influenza tissues maniStock

US experts are warning that the country could face a surge in respiratory viruses in January.

Dr. William Schaffner, the medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, told CNN that it is “highly likely” that an increase will occur.

“These are highly contagious viruses – and people have generally put Covid-19 and Covid vaccination behind them. They haven’t been all that attentive to flu. They’re not wearing masks,” Schaffner said. “And if you’re close together with other people, it’s an opportunity for all three of these viruses – flu, Covid, and even RSV – to spread from one person to another. So, we do expect a post-holiday surge in these viruses.”

“People are together for very long periods of time, and they’re not wearing masks, and they’re weary and tired and stressed, and those are occasions where people are more apt to spread the virus,” Schaffner said.

“I think all of us in infectious diseases and public health would recommend that masks are not perfect, but they are an additional layer of protection,” Schaffner added.

While the flu season remains at high levels in the US, flu numbers are decreasing in most states, the CDC reported on Friday. But they added that flu levels may not have peaked at this point.

According to CDC statistics, there have been around 18 million cases of the flu so far this season, with 190,000 hospitalizations and 12,000 deaths.