By Dr. Max Gomez

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Believe it or not, there was something positive that came out of the COVID pandemic.

There was no flu season, and no RSV, a virus that can be serious for infants.

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But CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explains RSV is now making a comeback, out of season.

RSV stands for respiratory syncytial virus, a respiratory virus that’s normally seen mostly in the winter and usually just causes cold-like symptoms. But it’s more risky for some toddlers and infants.

“The virus can track down to the lower lungs. We know children that have heart or lung disease or were born prematurely are more susceptible to that. But RSV does cause about 60,000 hospitalizations a year in children, less than two years of age throughout the United States,” said Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health.

Lighter says the New York area saw an out-of-normal season peak in RSV about a month ago, ahead of outbreak that’s happening in southern states right now.

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“We had physical distancing and mask wearing, and everybody was using the hand sanitizer. So there there was a blocked transmission of respiratory viruses … So when the restrictions were lifted, there was an opportunity for transmission,” Lighter said.

The spike in the south led the CDC to issue an alert for doctors to watch for RSV, especially if a child tests negative for COVID.

There’s no effective treatment for RSV, but if a child is having difficulty breathing, get them to a doctor or hospital right away.

There is preventive medication that can be given to high-risk children, but it is very expensive and only covered by insurance during the winter.

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After Dr. Lighter alerted the state Health Department of the late-breaking spike in RSV, the state extended its recommendation to cover the drug until the end of June.

Dr. Max Gomez