Common cold starts to spread fast as COVID restrictions are lifted

DETROIT – Masks, social distancing and staying home didn’t just protect people from COVID -- it also protected people from colds.

A common cold virus (RSV) is spreading across the South. The spread is causing an unusual wave of late spring disease, according to the CDC.

The CDC wants doctors and other health care providers to be on alert for the virus because it can cause pneumonia, especially in very small children and babies.

Because of the increase in cases the CDC is encouraging broader testing for RSV among patients who have acute respiratory illness and have tested negative for COVID.

Beaumont Dr. Richard Weiermiller sees children and adults at his Royal Oak practice.

“In the last month really, you’re starting to see some illnesses kind of coming into the picture again,” Weiermiller said. “We’ve taken our masks off. We’re in closer contact with people who aren’t part of our bubble. And, yeah, colds are starting to emerge again.”

RSV is more common in the fall and winter, but cases fell dramatically during the pandemic. Now it’s spreading fast in the south. Spread has been seen in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

In most years, RSV is common from September to May. There is no specific treatment for the virus. The CDC is still recommending that people with cold symptoms get a COVID test to be certain.

Read: US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

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