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‘Tripledemic’: Leana Wen takes your questions about rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV

Leana Wen joins Washington Post Live on Wednesday, Jan. 4. (Video: The Washington Post)

High levels of RSV, the flu and COVID-19 are straining hospitals, keeping families sick for weeks and forcing parents to miss work in record numbers. Join The Post’s Frances Stead Sellers as Leana Wen, emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, takes your questions about staying healthy this winter season.

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“We have gotten to the point in the pandemic when we've realized we're going to figure out a way to live with COVID. Individuals who are more susceptible to severe outcomes have to take additional precautions. But for everybody else there is no end in sight of this virus. And therefore, it needs to be conceptualized the same way that we look at flu, or RSV, or other viruses. Which is, it’s not something we want to get, but the extent to which we want to change our lives around it is going to depend on each individual’s decision about how we weigh our circumstances.”- Leana Wen (Video: Washington Post Live)
“The type of mask make sure to wear an N95, KN95 or KF94 mask. Make sure that it’s well-fitting and that you can wear it consistently in the situations that you need to. At this point a cloth mask is a little more than a facial decoration. If your goal is to keep out COVID, the cloth mask is not doing very much at all."- Leana Wen (Video: Washington Post Live)
“I was doing response on CNN immediately following the really shocking scenes of cardiac arrest and paramedics and the medical team doing chest compressions and using a defibrillator on the football field. There was a lot of talk of how this, once again, illustrates how dangerous football is. I don’t think that’s the right takeaway. Football is clearly very dangerous, but in this case, it seems that the most likely diagnosis for what happened is a direct impact to the chest causing cardiac arrest, which is a very rare, but very serious condition called commotio cordis. That condition actually is most frequently seen in younger athletes … What I was thinking was, this happened at this NFL game with more than 20 trained medical staff available who are able to come and immediately work on resuscitating Mr. Hamlin. But what if this happened at youth lacrosse game? Or a high school softball game? … We need to make sure that we also have people trained in CPR. We need to make sure that we have AED’s available in those settings. I hope that people will take away the need for us to really look at youth sports.”- Leana Wen (Video: Washington Post Live)

Leana Wen

Emergency Physician and Professor of Health Policy & Management, George Washington University