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An Old Virus Resurges

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is nothing new to the pediatric world. The illness, which causes symptoms such as runny nose and cough, typically spikes in the winter months. But in the aftermath of the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors are reporting an unexpected surge of the virus among infants and toddlers, and parents are taking to social media to share photos of their little ones battling the virus. 

Thankfully, Dr. Jason Terk, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Pediatrics in Keller, Texas, says that the vast majority of those who get RSV — including those below the age of 2 — recover from the virus without much need for treatment. “We’ve seen many, many, many children with RSV and a very, very small minority of those kids end up getting into trouble that requires hospitalization,” Terk tells Yahoo Life. 

Still, he admits that the current increase in cases is a major deviation from the standard cycle of RSV. “It’s unprecedented,” says Terk. “If you look at typical RSV, it’s a type of illness that we see usually starting in late fall into the wintertime and then goes away usually by late winter, early spring.” 

Many hospitals are seeing a spike in cases of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV in kids. Here's why the typically winter virus may be spreading. (Photos: Getty Images)
Many hospitals are seeing a spike in cases of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, in kids. Here’s why the winter virus may be spreading. (Getty Images)

As the RSV virus continues to spread nationwide, here’s what you need to know.

Southern states are experiencing particularly high cases

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning in June about the rise in RSV cases, particularly in Southern states. Dr. Diana Peterson, a pediatrician at Ochsner Hospital for Children in New Orleans, confirms that her department is seeing a spike. “Since mid-April, Louisiana has seen a progressive rise in RSV cases,” says Peterson. “We typically see RSV in the winter months along with other cough and flu-like illnesses, which makes the RSV pattern we are experiencing now very unusual.”

Dr. Stan Spinner, chief medical officer and vice president of Texas Children’s Pediatrics and Urgent Care, agrees. “We are seeing a large number of RSV cases, and that’s something we’ve never really seen in the summer before,” says Spinner. “I think it came as a surprise to all of us.” Dr. April Palmer, professor and chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, says the same. “Like the rest of the country, we are seeing a spike in cases.”

COVID-19 precautions likely played a role in the current spike

While no one can say for certain why the respiratory virus is spiking off-season, all the experts implied that the COVID-19 pandemic played a role. “Our practices were virtual ghost towns through the winter of 2020-21, so because we were not having any significant viral transmission to speak of — based upon the public health measures that we were undertaking — those individuals who normally might have been exposed to RSV at that time were unexposed,” says Terk. “And it probably provided an opportunity for that virus to take hold and create a little mini spike here that we’re seeing right now.”

Peterson elaborates on how the COVID-19 precautions likely contributed. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, the community was very diligent with masking, physical distancing and careful school precautions,” she says. “These measures were associated with a very large decrease in other non-COVID-19 respiratory illness, which includes RSV. As these precautions were relaxed, we are seeing RSV and other respiratory illnesses circulating outside of their normal seasonal pattern.”

Hospitalization and death with RSV is incredibly rare

It’s true that RSV can be more dangerous for infants and young kids than adults, with the potential to cause a severe lower respiratory infection called bronchiolitis. But Terk reinforces that these serious cases are rare. “Most of the time RSV causes an illness that is entirely manageable at home with use of the usual things that we recommend for viral respiratory infections — nasal saline, suctioning and humidification,” he says. “If there’s a worsening of the respiratory status or they have a hard time breathing, then they need to be seen by their physician.”

Spinner adds that RSV can often be so mild that it’s assumed to be the common cold, though doctors can use a test to determine which it is. “It’s one of the most common viruses; every child will have been infected with RSV at some point during their childhood,” says Spinner. “A lot of times you get a runny nose, a cough, you get drained… You can’t tell that it’s RSV versus a common cold, but you deal with it the same way. It’s symptom relief. There’s no cure for it. It just runs its course. And even in a lot of younger kids and a lot of babies, that’s all it might do. It may just be a cold.”

As with many illnesses, Spinner says, the most at risk are the very young (babies under three months) and those with underlying medical conditions. For those with remaining questions, contact your health care provider or visit the CDC’s information page.

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Pop mogul Simon Cowell was a racing flop with ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec – that didn’t win a penny

SIMON COWELL conquered the music world – but his foray into racing ended in disaster with an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse he owned with Ant and Dec.

The music mogul, 62, has done it all with bands like One Direction, Little Mix and solo acts Olly Murs and James Arthur, to name but a few.

Cowell owned an 'awful' £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec - but the runner didn't win a single penny in six races

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Cowell owned an ‘awful’ £35,000 horse with Ant and Dec – but the runner didn’t win a single penny in six racesCredit: PA:Press Association
Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

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Cowell remains a massive racing fan and loves Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby

His Syco label – plus shows such as Britain’s Got Talent – have dominated the entertainment industry and brought him an estimated net worth of £385m.

A lover of Royal Ascot and the Epsom Derby, he looked perfectly poised to strike a knockout blow in the world of thoroughbreds.

But it turns out his runner was far from No1 in the charts – and never even finished better than fifth during a doomed six-race career.

Things looked promising at the start.

Named It’s A Yes From Me, the runner was trained with the respected James Fanshawe and sent off at 8-1 for his first race in June 2014.

But coming last of five by 13-and-a-half lengths was unfortunately about as good as it got for the gelding.

A month’s rest followed before he was sent off at 40-1 in a six-furlong sprint at Doncaster.

But there he could only manage fifth again, and it was same at Redcar the next month.

‘Dreadfully slow’

By October that year – with further finishes of sixth and tenth – It’s A Yes From Me came second-last in a one-mile race at Kempton.

One analysis of the race warned punters the horse was ‘one to tread carefully’ with.

Well, Cowell and Ant and Dec took that advice to heart as they never raced him again.

The horse was penniless from six races, never finishing high enough to recoup some of that £35,000 investment.

It’s doubtful Cowell, with hundreds of millions in the bank, lost any sleep over that.

But Ant and Dec revealed just how bad things has got with the horse during an interview last year.

Dec said of It’s A Yes From Me: “It was awful, it was a dreadfully slow horse.

“It wasn’t a racehorse it was just a horse, because it didn’t race.

“Every time we got to the BGT studio Simon would say, ‘I keep paying stable fees on this horse, but I’ve never seen it run’.”

Cowell originally wanted to name the nag after himself, but they settled on It’s A Yes From Me when they bought it in 2013.

‘It was awful’

Dec revealed its eventual fate: “I think it got rehomed.”

Of course it’s not all been bad for Cowell at the races.

He was one of the exclusive few at the Epsom Derby in June, having a great time with partner Lauren Silverman and Piers Morgan.

And two weeks later he was at Royal Ascot – where he first discovered his love of racing.

Cowell told SunSport’s Matt Chapman during a chat at Epsom: “I’ve got my son Eric with me today.

“My mum and dad years ago used to take me to Ascot and I was probably about his age – seven or eight.

Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this year

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Cowell with partner Lauren at Epsom earlier this yearCredit: Getty
It's A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races

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It’s A Yes From Me trails behind in last during one of his six races
The music supremo tweeted about his horse's bad start... which never got much better

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The music supremo tweeted about his horse’s bad start… which never got much better

Most read in Horse Racing

“So the fact I can now bring him to the races as well is brilliant. It brings back a lot of good memories.

“Making TV shows is my passion. But racing is actually my second passion.”

He hasn’t made that passion the money-maker his music label is, but don’t rule out Cowell staging his own comeback at the track in the near future.

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Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org

Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org


Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chases their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
  • Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
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Minnesota wildfire doubles in size, creates its own weather

A wildfire in northeastern Minnesota more than doubled in size Tuesday, growing to more than 19,000 acres, after it produced pyrocumulous clouds that generated lightning and even raindrops, fire officials said.

The Greenwood Fire’s growth, most of which happened Monday afternoon, prompted firefighters to leave McDougal Lake, about 80 miles south-southwest of Duluth, officials said. Authorities fear that structures might have been destroyed or damaged.

“We had crews embedded, and as this fire took off, it was quite an effort to communicate with forces on the ground so they could get out,” said federal fire incident spokesman Clark McCreedy.

The pullout was a success, and no injuries were reported. However, downed trees and necessary cleanup mean crews have been unable to assess damage around the lake, McCreedy said.

In addition to the firefighter pullout, 159 dwellings were evacuated Monday, according to an update from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group. Cabins, homes and recreational sites remain under threat, the group said.

Patrick Prochaska, a Minneapolis resident who built a cabin near McDougal Lake in 2012, told NBC affiliate KARE that he watched via security camera as flames mostly bypassed his property Monday, causing minor damage.

“I was feeling very scared,” he said. “At the same time, I could see that it was not doing anything to the house, and it was kind of reassuring.”

The fire in and north of Superior National Forest has mostly performed according to the weather, fire officials said. On Monday, with dry fuel on the ground and temperatures in the high 80s, it was an expanding inferno punctuated by strobes of lightning.

“The winds were drawn into the fire from all directions,” the incident’s fire behavior analyst, Michael Locke, said in a video update Tuesday. “It created what we call pyrocumulous clouds. And really high in the atmosphere … you’d see a thunderstorm, and in fact they went high enough to produce a few sprinkles of rain and even some lightning.”

Temperatures dipped into the mid-70s Tuesday, and the blaze mellowed. “The real story was cloud cover and cooler temperatures,” McCreedy said.

More of the same, and possibly rain, was in the forecast, giving officials hope that they might be able to close the book on an unusually active and dry fire season in Minnesota.

Experts have said climate change has set the stage for extreme weather, including an increase in the frequency and intensity of wildfires in the Northern Hemisphere.

Firefighters — 426 were assigned to the Greenwood event — have been confronted with “prolonged, severe drought,” making parts of Minnesota look like the fire-prone West this summer, McCreedy said.

The Greenwood Fire, which was detected Aug. 15, is believed to have been sparked by lightning.

So far, firefighters have scored no containment, and areas including McDougal Lake, Sand Lake and the Highway 2 corridor have been under mandatory evacuation orders. The federal Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was closed Saturday “due to active and increasing fire activity, extreme drought, limited resources,” the National Forest Service said in a notice.

Officials set a goal of Sept. 1 for full containment.

“We’re probably going to get more of that moderating weather for the rest of the week,” McCreedy said. “That opens the door for fire crews to make progress on the ground.”

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Hiker survives grizzly bear attack at Denali National Park

A tourist from Indiana was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska on Monday night, park officials said.

The 55-year-old tourist, whose name was not released, was hiking alone in dense fog in the Thoroughfare Pass area when a mother bear and multiple cubs charged him from nearby bushes, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

He had puncture wounds to a calf, his left ribs and his left shoulder, the agency said.

The victim used bear spray that might have cut the attack short, the park service indicated. He walked 1.5 miles to a visitor’s center where “medical personnel” vacationing at Denali treated him as a park bus driver called 911, it said.

The hiker was taken to a medical center near the park before he was transferred to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, about 120 miles away, park officials said. He was stabilized at the Fairbanks hospital, they said.

“Due to the apparent defensive nature of this attack, there are no plans to locate the bear involved,” the park service said. “Female bears with cubs are naturally defensive of their young, especially when surprised. There is no indication that this bear is unusually dangerous.”

Grizzly bears are federally protected as a threatened species in the lower 48 states. According to the National Wildlife Federation, fewer than 1,500 grizzlies are left in the lower 48, but they thrive, comparatively, in Alaska, where they have a population of about 31,000.

The backcountry area of the attack is closed for one week as a precaution, the park service said.

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