Northwell Health warns of tripledemic ahead of holidays; urge masking, social distancing

Kemberly Richardson Image
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Northwell Health warns of tripledemic surge during holidays
Medical experts at Northwell Health Labs are warning the public about the tripledemic as flu, RSV, and COVID cases continue to surge. Kemberly Richardson has the story.

NEW HYDE PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- Medical experts on Long Island gathered for a brainstorming and information session on Wednesday in effort to warn the public about the tripledemic.

Northwell Labs is a necessary machine which will ramp up over the next few weeks. Think of it as the Emerald City of the medical field.


"The proof is in the pudding, these viruses are prevalent, out there, they are passed easily amongst the community," said Dr. Matthew Harris of Northwell Health.

In this case, three really is a crowd, as we find ourselves right in the middle of a so-called 'tripledemic.'

Samples from roughly 40 hospitals and some 3,000 doctor's offices and nursing homes end up at Northwell Labs.

This year, one out of every four tests, more than 9,000, have come back positive for the flu.

RELATED | Watch 'Healthy for the Holidays' - protecting yourself and your family from COVID, flu and RSV

This year we are amid what is being called a "tripledemic" as cases of COVID, the flu, and RSV are on the rise in our area and across the country. Watch the full special here.

"This is three times the volume we saw in the most recent pre-COVID season of the flu, so it's a big flu season, it's back hard and heavy," said Dr. Dwayne Breining of Northwell Health Labs.

Overall, doctors say those who are particularly at high risk right now of ending up in the hospital are kids under the age of 2 who were born during the pandemic.

In terms of pediatric visits in the Northwell system, they are up 150% compared to this time last year, and up 300% compared to 2020.

"While we have a little bit of a reprieve with RSV, we are still getting a lot of RSV," Dr. Sophia Jan said.

Nurse Sandra Lindsay was the first person in the U.S. to get a COVID vaccine on Dec 14, 2020.

"I thought it would have been a much faster sprint across that finish line when the vaccines came out, but here we are today, in a much better place," Lindsay said.

After Thanksgiving, Northwell saw a 30% increase in COVID cases and expects a repeat after New Year's.

They say the best advice is to mask up, social distance yourselves and get vaccinated.

national geographic covid newsletter sign up


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus

Submit a COVID Question