Coronavirus

As COVID Pandemic Slows Down, Doctors Report Increase in Other Illnesses

Since the coronavirus pandemic began to wind down, some doctors say they have seen an increase in other illnesses, including respiratory infections unrelated to COVID-19

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While the COVID-19 pandemic has waned, doctors are seeing an increase in other illness.

"Demand is intense right now," said Dr. Kevin Ard of Massachusetts General Hospital's Sexual Health Clinic. "We're receiving hundreds of calls a day."

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As monkeypox cases have spread, Massachusetts has made the vaccine available at specific locations, including Ard's clinic.

"I'm concerned that it will continue to spread," he said. "This is not a gay disease, though. Anyone could acquire this disease with contact with someone who has monkeypox, but we think we are seeing it primarily in this population now because it's spreading in that social and sexual network."

People have been getting out of the house more since the coronavirus pandemic began to wind down. They are also more likely to go the doctor. That means doctors are seeing an increase in other illnesses, like common respiratory infections not related to COVID-19.

"We're seeing some suggestion of a non-seasonal flu and non-seasonal respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. Both of those things are uncommon in the summertime," said Dr. Paul Sax, clinical director of Brigham and Women's Infectious Disease Clinic. "We are seeing a rise in those sexually related infections, especially when compared to the early part of the pandemic, where we saw a huge drop."

Sax says as people interact more, the increase in different infections is par for the course.

As doctors monitor the current environment, they are anxious about what the flu season will bring.

"We are also watching very carefully flu numbers, because we have a very mild flu season last two years driven by two factors: One, lack of interaction with other people, and two, lack of travel," said Sax.

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