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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.23.23290387

Spatiotemporal Variations of "Triple-demic" Outbreaks of Respiratory Infections in the United States in the Post-COVID-19 Era

W.Luo Q. Liu Y. Zhou ...+4 S. Lai
Objectives: The United States confronted a "triple-demic" of influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID-19 in the winter of 2022, resulting in increased respiratory infections and a higher demand for medical supplies. It is urgent to analyze each epidemic and their co-occurrence in space and time to identify hotspots and provide insights for public health strategy. Methods: We used retrospective space-time scan statistics to retrospect the situation of COVID-19, influenza, and RSV in 51 US states from October 2021 to February 2022, and then applied prospective space-time scan statistics to monitor spatiotemporal variations of each individual epidemic, respectively and collectively from October 2022 to February 2023. Results: Our analysis indicated that compared to the winter of 2021, COVID-19 cases decreased while influenza and RSV infections increased significantly during the winter of 2022. We revealed that a twin-demic high-risk cluster of influenza and COVID-19 but no triple-demic clusters emerged during the winter of 2021. We further identified a large high-risk cluster of triple-demic in the central US from late November, with COVID-19, influenza, and RSV having relative risks of 1.14, 1.90, and 1.59, respectively. The number of states at high risk for multiple-demic increased from 15 in October 2022 to 21 in January 2023. Conclusion: Our study provides a novel spatiotemporal perspective to explore and monitor the transmission patterns of the triple epidemic, which could inform public health authorities' resource allocation to mitigate future outbreaks.