Amid fears that COVID cases are rising again here in Virginia, there is some good news. At the same time that the state health department considers influenza activity “very high” and emergency department visits for COVID-19 have risen for six straight weeks, COVID hospitalizations are lower than in each of the past three Januarys. Meanwhile, the health department says the flu’s trajectory has resembled previous years, and basically… it’s all nothing out of the ordinary. They say right now, we are in the middle of respiratory season, and these increases are expected and healthcare facilities knew they were going to come. Statewide, only about 5% of hospital beds last week were devoted to patients with COVID.