When does the flu peak arrive? Experts alarm and hospitals under stress

2024 hasn’t started in the best way for millions of Italians who find themselves in bed with typical people flu symptoms. Between Covid and seasonal flu syndrome, in fact, Italy is grappling with a complicated moment from a health point of view, with hospitals and emergency rooms in trouble. This is certainly not an emergency like the one experienced in 2020, it should be underlined, but It’s definitely not an easy time.

And the experts, including paediatricians, doctors and virologists, launch the first appeals to try to stem the contagion, with the flu peak which however has not yet been reached.

Peak flu coming, hospitals in difficulty

A few days after the extension of the anti-Covid mask obligation to June 30, 2024, Italy seems to be facing a new emergency. Two crossfires, Covid and influenza, are in fact putting the healthcare system in difficulty which, as the conditions of some weaker and more fragile patients worsen, is seeing a visibly increase in cases resulting from admission to hospitals.

And according to the latest RespiVirNet report, the Integrated Surveillance System (epidemiological and virological) coordinated by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS) with the support of the Ministry of Health, flu-like syndromes are on the increase at the beginning of 2024, as well as hospitalization cases.

Specifically, there were 17.2 cases per thousand patients, with the previous week closing with 15.6. The number of estimated cases, among children and adults, exceeds one million and what is increasing are not only syndromes such as influenza, but also respiratory viruses whose incidence is growing especially in pediatric age groups, while it is stable in adults and the elderly .

And, as mentioned, it is above all hospital facilities that are affected. The president of Fiaso (Italian Federation of Health and Hospital Companies) Giovanni Migliore, in fact, explained that “flu viruses are having a greater impact in absolute terms, especially on the elderly and frail population than to deal with the consequences of respiratory disorders crowds in the emergency room awaiting admission“.

The translation, therefore, is a longer wait in emergency rooms. In fact, as we anticipated, the impact on family doctors’ surgeries and emergency rooms is alarming.

When the flu peak arrives

He thought about predicting when the flu peak would arrive Gianni Rezzaprofessor of Hygiene at San Raffaele in Milan.

The expert, in fact, underlined that “the curve is still growing and with the opening of schools and offices the infections will increase so much that the flu peak is expected by mid-January“. So still 10 days before the maximum point of infections, then a decline.

But according to Rezza it will not be a very rapid descent because “the virus will circulate for the entire month of February“.

Bassetti’s warning about the influenza virus

AND Matteo Bassettidirector of the infectious diseases clinic at the San Martino hospital in Genoa, does not mince words to describe the flu peak affecting Italy in this period.

The worst season of the last 15 yearsbut even in the previous 15 years nothing similar had been seen” he told La Repubblica, underlining however that “there is no need to dramatise”.

Bassetti, in fact, explained that the important thing, first and foremost, is not to carry the virus around: “If a person is not well they should stay at home and not carry the virus around. If you really can’t give up family lunches because it’s Christmas or New Year’s Eve or the Epiphany, at least wear a mask.”

Then, an observation on the overcrowding of emergency rooms: “It applies to all of Italy but I don’t always criticize the system. In moments like these, with viruses circulating a lot, the The choice to go to the emergency room should be carefully considered“.