DENVER — Though COVID-19 hasn’t marginalized hospitals in Colorado this fall and winter, the virus still has more than twice as many people hospitalized as the flu, and it’s not clear if that’s the new normal will be.
As of Oct. 1, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 3,040 flu hospitalizations and 7,877 COVID-19 hospitalizations. And while admissions to flu hospitals have not exceeded 20 in a week since early February, those related to COVID-19 have declined much more slowly, with 226 admissions recorded in the week of April 16.
The state does not specifically track flu deaths, making accurate comparisons impossible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 450 to 700 people die from influenza or pneumonia each flu season in Colorado, while 1,032 deaths have been attributed to COVID-19 since early October.
Epidemiologists are divided over whether humans and the virus that causes COVID-19 have reached a kind of detente where it can no longer cause massive disruption, though it remains a threat to vulnerable people. Colorado experienced ripples in the summer and fall of 2022 as new variants emerged and people’s behavior patterns changed, but they didn’t approach levels that threatened healthcare capacity like they did in 2020 and 2021.
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