These are busy times in hospital pediatric wards across the U.S., at places like Children’s Hospital Colorado where the Delta variant of COVID-19 has made its presence felt.
“The last couple months the rate of hospitalizations in kids has increased about four to five fold.”
Pediatrician Dr. Juri Boguniewicz says while most children don’t experience severe cases, doctors are treating acute respiratory symptoms and the multisystem inflammatory syndrome MIS-C. Nationally, more than 226,000 cases of COVID-19 involving children were reported last week, a number that’s been on the rise since early summer.
“Anyone could walk in a children’s hospital today and see the dramatic impact that COVID and the Delta variant have made on children and adolescents.”
“No age group has been spared.”
“This surge in cases comes as students head back to school. Delta’s ability to spread relatively easily makes it a risk to kids of all ages, particularly older ones who’ve opted not to get protection.
“Almost exclusively, teenagers who are hospitalized today are those who are unvaccinated, who have not taken advantage of the vaccine.”
“A lot of the infections, particularly in the adolescents, are preventable.”
Boguniewicz says when it comes to bringing case numbers down, it’s all pretty straightforward.
“The more that we can vaccinate the entire community the better chances are that we’ll end transmission and prevent transmission to those vulnerable patients including young children.”
Kids ages 5-11 may soon be able to receive those shots. Pfizer has announced that results from its pediatric trial indicate its vaccine is safe and effective in that age group.
A Colorado nine-year-old took part in the study hoping to help conquer the disease.
“So when I heard that I could help that come along quicker I really wanted to be a part of it.”
“Coronavirus can affect us and in some cases it can kill kids.”
Children’s hospitals like this one are also contending with RSV, a seasonal respiratory virus that can be dangerous in kids. Some elective surgeries may have to be postponed. Several hundred facilities, worried about shortfalls in beds and expert staff, have asked the federal government for help as they try to get their arms around this latest, troubling trend.