Health officials have raised concerns about a simultaneous rise in Delta infections and cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), a highly contagious, seasonal flu-like illness that is more likely to affect children and older adults.

Cases of RSV have risen gradually since early June, with an even bigger increase over the past month, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RSV, which can cause symptoms such as a runny nose, cough, sneeze, and fever, usually begins to spread in the fall, which makes this summer unusual.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Dr. Heather Haq, a pediatrician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, reported a surge in hospital admissions from coronavirus and RSV.

“After many months with no or few pediatric Covid cases, we are seeing infants, children and adolescents with Covid flow back to the hospital more and more every day,” she wrote, adding that the ages of the patients ranged from 2 weeks to 17 Years old, including some with Covid pneumonia.

“We are at the front end of a huge surge in Covid,” wrote Dr. Haq, who was unavailable for comment on Sunday. “We now have winter-level patient numbers of acutely ill infants / toddlers with RSV, and I fear we will run out of beds and staff to handle the surge.”

Coronavirus Pandemic and Life Expectancy in the United States

RSV cases in Texas began to increase in early June and appeared to peak in mid-July, according to the state Department of Health.

There has been a similar surge in RSV cases in Florida, where infections “were higher than in previous years at this point in time,” according to a surveillance report.

In Louisiana, where cases have risen 244 percent in the past two weeks, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge was nearing capacity on Friday, CNN reported.

“You start with the pandemic for the last 18 months and then with RSV for the last few months. It just seems like one thing at a time that keeps our teams very busy, ”said Dr. Trey Dunbar, president of the hospital, the network.

In Oklahoma, where RSV cases have also risen sharply, hospital beds are becoming scarce.

“We’re just asking everyone to do their best to help a tense hospital situation,” an Oklahoma children’s hospital said in a Facebook post last week.

Dr. Cameron Mantor, the chief medical officer of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital at OU Health, told The Oklahoman that RSV cases in the state have remained “exponentially off the charts” in the past two months.

“RSV is a real problem right now,” he told the newspaper. “What will happen when we have an increase in pediatric Covid cases?”

The surge in RSV cases is due to the fact that new coronavirus infections in the United States rose 148 percent in the past two weeks and hospital admissions rose 73 percent, according to the New York Times.

The rise in coronavirus infections has been largely attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant and, in some states, to low vaccination rates.

“I am concerned if the children go back to school with the circulating delta we will see huge school breakouts that we have not seen in previous waves and disproportionately affect the children,” wrote Dr. Haq. “I’ve looked after hospital patients with Covid throughout the pandemic, but this time we’ll see more pediatric Covid shots with unvaccinated, susceptible children plus Delta variant.”

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has banned local governments and state agencies from prescribing vaccines and preventing local officials from requesting face masks.

Florida could face similar virus challenges early in the school year. Governor Ron DeSantis has spoken out against new masking recommendations from the CDC, and his office said in a statement last week that “parents know what is best for their children”.

Excess RSV infections have also been reported from places like New Zealand, which is currently winter. Experts there say children may be more susceptible than usual to seasonal viruses and infections because they were exposed to germs during lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic.