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A "Tripledemic": Southern California Slammed

By Rocky Walker

LOS ANGELES, CA - Hospitals are filled again, but COVID-19 isn’t the only illness. This year's winter season brought a high number of cases of RSV and influenza among children. The highest being Orange County, with a health emergency.

Photo Credit: Rocky Walker, Children's hospital in Orange County

The greater Los Angeles area has been hit hard by an onslaught of respiratory infections in what is called a “tripledemic."

Respiratory Syncytial Virus or RSV, Influenza, and COVID-19 pushed hospitals past their boundaries- with hospitals across the nation filled more than at the start of the pandemic. A Northridge hospital reached capacity already.

“Staff is stretched out and working long hours," said Northridge Hospital Pediatrician Doctor Albert Melaragno."We're trying to accommodate as many patients as we can beyond what we would normally accommodate just because the parents seem to be desperate.”

While RSV and the flu rocked the health system for weeks, COVID-19 started a huge uptick- with LA’s COVID cases up by 75 percent within the first week of December.

There are high transmissions this flu season compared to previous seasons over a decade- with RSV spreading rapidly.

Orange County declared a health emergency during this year's Halloween over unprecedented amounts of RSV cases in children. The increase can lead to a potential medical catastrophe.

Officials said toddlers filled up hospitals with respiratory viruses at first. Now people of all ages are infected. Children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to illnesses.

Cases were reported earlier than normal, with hospitals close to or at capacity. Officials said it's uncertain if the early spikes mean there'll be an early drop-off in cases.

There's no current RSV vaccine. Doctors suggested getting vaccinated for COVID and the flu. Constant hand washing can lower transmissions.

Rocky Walker video report

Rocky Walker audio report

Respiratory "tripledemic" video

By Rocky Walker

Contributions: Los Angeles Times, CBS News, CNN, FoxLA

Photo: Rocky Walker

Video: Rocky Walker

Audio: Rocky Walker

Video: CBS Mornings


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