'Tripledemic' prompts change to CDC masking guidance

At San Jose’s Christmas in the Park event, families enjoyed dazzling lights, kiddie rides, and festive performances. The outdoor event is a holiday favorite but this year, some people chose to enjoy the celebration masked up.

Michael Clinkscales of San Jose said, "Flu numbers I read today are still really high. I’m still paranoid about COVID and getting sick."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has Santa Clara County in the "high" tier for COVID infections. There’s also increasing cases of flu and RSV – creating a tripledemic that coincides with the holiday season.

The CDC recommends masking indoors and in public in Santa Clara County, and staying up to date on vaccinations.

"Even from the beginning I just never stopped wearing a mask," said Clinkscales. "I think I will continue for a very long time."

Stanford University sent a notice to students Monday, saying there has been an uptick in COVID, flu, and RSV. Students traveling over break are being asked to mask indoors and test before returning to class.

In San Francisco, COVID is in the CDC’s "low" tier.

"Our deaths are extremely low at the moment. Severe disease is very low for COVID. I’m more worried about RSV and flu at the moment," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert and Professor of Medicine at UCSF.

SEE ALSO: Wastewater tests show high COVID levels in Santa Clara County

Dr. Gandhi said flu is greatly impacting those are most vulnerable, like very young children and the elderly. Flu also came earlier than usual this year so many people may not have gotten vaccinated.

"Children didn’t see flu for the past couple years and neither did adults. And our rates of vaccinations, even though we have vaccines from 6 months onwards, aren’t as high as we would like at all," said Dr. Gandhi.