“Triple-demic”: Experts warn of high cases of COVID, flu and RSV spreading in metro Atlanta

ATLANTA — You may have heard someone call this a “triple-demic.” That’s when there are high cases of COVID, the flu and other respiratory viruses.

Channel 2′s Lori Wilson spoke with one family battling the flu.

[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]

“He definitely had a cough. He was sneezing, nausea, he definitely threw up,” Whitney Threatt said.

When Threatt’s 10-year-old son said he didn’t feel well, her first move was to give him his normal medicine.

“Drowning him in water and Pedialyte … I did a lot of at-home teas,” Threatt said.

When that didn’t help, and he started having body aches and chills, she took him to the doctor and found out he had the flu.


“We haven’t had a bad flu season in a couple of years because of COVID. People stayed home. They wore masks.”

Grady Memorial Hospital’s chief medical officer Dr. Robert Jansen says this winter they are bracing for a triple-demic: high cases of the flu, COVID and viruses like RSV, which doctors have already seen in other countries.

“I anticipate we’re going to see that here, the degree to which, that I don’t know, but what I do know is we can minimize it,” Jansen said.

Minimize the risk of getting extremely sick through vaccination.

[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]

Threatt also came down with the flu. Her symptoms were so severe that she had to go to the hospital.

“I had an 89% oxygen level, so they had to give me a shot to open up my lungs,” Threatt said.

She and her son were both vaccinated against COVID but hadn’t gotten their flu shots. Doctors say it’s a fight to stay healthy that requires vaccination.

“We know that COVID is going to be back. What can you do to prevent serious illness? Get vaccinated,” Jansen said.

Threatt says she and her son will get the flu vaccine and eventually get back on their feet.

“It feels really weird not to be able to do anything for myself, so that’s been emotionally damaging,” Threatt said.

Jansen says that while the infection rate for all three has gone way up, the number of people who need to go to the hospital is down, and he attributes that solely to vaccinations.