The “tripledemic” is a term that some public health leaders and the news media are using to describe the current spread of three respiratory illnesses: COVID-19, flu (influenza), and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).

COVID-19, flu, and RSV cases and hospitalizations are spiking in many parts of the country. Each virus can pose a serious health threat, especially for older people and people with underlying health conditions. RSV and flu are also serious concerns for young children.

Most cases of COVID-19, flu, and RSV are mild, but as millions of people are getting sick, the number of people with serious illness is also rising. The “tripledemic” is placing pressure on hospitals and health care facilities, and it is already straining the capacity and resources of many pediatric hospitals. 

“Tripledemic” does not have a scientific definition, like “epidemic” or “pandemic.” It is an informal term used to convey the significance of the current spread of COVID-19, flu, and RSV.

Added December 15, 2022