While Covid-19 infection is more prevalent among adults, it does not spare the children. NBC News reports that according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), over four million children in the country had Covid-19 as of July 8, making up 14.2 percent of all Covid-19 cases. Over 16,600 children were hospitalized because of it, representing 2.2 percent of all hospitalizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) latest data shows that there have been 335 deaths from Covid-19 among children aged 17 and below. From June 24 to July 8 alone, there were over 31,000 new cases among children. Now, more than ever, it is important to contact a pediatric clinic if your child falls ill with a fever.
Delta Is Infecting More Children Than Before
On July 20, CDC stated that over 83 percent of cases in the U.S. were from the delta variant of Covid-19. In certain states, the delta variant is infecting more children than previous variants. This was the observation of various doctors, as reported by Forbes on July 29. Big children’s hospitals in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama stated that they have more children admitted with Covid-19 delta than at any other time during the pandemic.
In Alabama, the hospitalization of 32 children with Covid-19 surpassed the previous state-wide record in January.
In Florida, surges of child hospitalizations for Covid-19 were reported in St. Petersburg and Palm Beach. In hospitals across Jacksonville, the 20 children hospitalized for Covid-19 represented a record-breaker. It was the same in Baton Rouge, with 11 children admitted.
In children’s hospitals in Springdale and Little Rock, Arkansas, there were 24 children with Covid-19 admitted as of July 28, with seven of them in intensive care units and two of them on ventilators. This is 50 percent more than their previous highest admissions related to the coronavirus.
In Louisiana, various children’s hospitals in different cities reported surges in hospitalizations of children with Covid-19. At Children’s Hospital New Orleans, the six children admitted with Covid-19 on a Monday quickly multiplied to a record-breaking 17 by Thursday. The hospital postponed elective surgeries so that they could assign more staff to their intensive care units.
Forbes highlights that a bigger percentage of new cases are among younger people in some areas where the delta variant is predominant. In Florida, as of the early part of July, Covid-19 cases in children below the age of 12 increased by 87 percent. In Louisiana, the latest data from the state’s Department of Health showed that among all age groups with Covid-19 infections, school-aged children ranked third from the top.
New CDC Guidelines
On July 19, the AAP recommended that children above two years old wear masks as they go back to school, whether vaccinated or not. At that time, it was contrary to CDC guidelines that students who are fully vaccinated need not wear masks.
CDC, however, updated its guidelines regarding the wearing of masks on July 27. In schools, everyone must now wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status. This includes students, teachers, staff, and visitors.
Elsewhere, CDC only recommends wearing masks among the fully vaccinated in areas where there is high transmission of Covid delta, and only in indoor settings that are public. Those immunocompromised, though, or have an immunocompromised household member, may wear a mask even in areas with low Covid delta transmission. The same applies to those who have a higher risk for serious illness, such as the elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
The Need to Ramp up Vaccinations
The AAP analyzed CDC data as of July 28 and found that among children from 12 to 15 years old, only 28 percent have been fully vaccinated. Among children from 16 to 17 years old, only 40 percent have been fully vaccinated. The vaccine is not yet approved for 14.5 percent of the total U.S. population, those below 12 years old.
CDC issued a health advisory on July 27, alerting clinicians and health practitioners to the urgency of increasing Covid-19 vaccinations. It highlighted that the delta variant of Covid-19 is highly transmissible and caused a 300 percent increase in cases nationwide from June 19 to July 23 alone. It also noted new data showing that even those fully vaccinated can be infected and transmit the virus to others. Therefore, it called on all health professionals to be vaccinated themselves and reach out to as many people as possible to encourage them to be vaccinated. CDC also called on businesses and suggested the possibility of them providing vaccines at the workplace.
With the urgent call of CDC, the public must respond to protect everyone, most of all the children. Full vaccination will protect not only you but also your loved ones and the most vulnerable youth.