Coronavirus: Child hospitalizations reach a new high as U.S. schools reopen

Just as doctors fear, more and more children are being hit hard by COVID-19 as Delta variant tramples across the US

And the new school year begins.

Dr Edith Bracho-Sanchez, associate professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said: “What we’re seeing right now is extremely worrying.

“This virus actually infects people who are not vaccinated. And among those people are children who are not eligible for the vaccine and children and adolescents who are eligible but do not want to get it. “

Among the latest sobering statistics:

– According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, 2,396 children were hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

– An average of 369 pediatric COVID-19 patients were hospitalized each day of the week ending September 6, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

– More than 55,000 children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 since August 2020, according to CDC data. Many of these children had no known pre-existing conditions.

– While child deaths from COVID-19 are still rare, that number is growing. According to CDC data, as of Wednesday, at least 520 children have died.

Doctors say it’s important to protect children against Delta variant – not just for the sake of their health, but also to preserve the learning curve and help prevent aggressive variants. than make the whole country back.


Since last school year, a more contagious variant – Alpha – has been replaced by an even more contagious variant – Delta – which is the predominant strain of coronavirus in the US

Now, “children’s cases have grown exponentially, with more than 750,000 cases added between August 5 and September 2,” said the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“About 252,000 cases were added last week, the largest number of child cases in a week since the pandemic began.”

Children now account for more than 26% of new COVID-19 cases, the AAP said.

Dr Jon McCullers, a pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, said there were increasing cases of children being hospitalized with COVID-19.

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of cases over the past four weeks, which corresponds to the time that schools start school,” McCullers said on Wednesday.

“Interestingly, we are seeing three times as many hospitalizations as we saw during our peak in winter.”


Nearly half – 46.4% – of children hospitalized with Covid-19 between March 2020 and June 2021 have no known underlying condition, according to CDC data from nearly 100 county of the United States.

And the Delta variant further disproves the myth that healthy babies cannot be severely affected.

In the past, “the majority of kids I’ve seen who are really sick (with Covid-19) are kids with other illnesses or comorbidities,” says Dr. Susannah Hills, an airway surgeon. pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center.

“But now, the difference with this Delta variant is that we’re seeing kids who may not necessarily have comorbidities who are also hospitalized.”


In some cases, children who begin to have mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 end up being hospitalized weeks or months later with a condition called MIS-C – multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

MIS-C is “a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19, in which various body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or digestive organs. chemistry,” the CDC said.

It happens when “the virus causes your body to create an immune response against your own blood vessels” – which can cause blood vessel inflammation, says pediatrician Dr Paul Offit, Director of the Center for Education Vaccines at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said .

The CDC says at least 4,661 cases of MIS-C have been reported, including 41 deaths.

Many children with MIS-C do not become severely ill with COVID-19.

“Usually children that are picked up by accident have (coronavirus.) Someone in the family is infected, a friend is infected, so they have PCR tests. And they are concluded to be positive. positive. … Then they’re fine,” said Offit.

“Then a month passed, they had a high fever. And evidence of lung, liver, kidney or heart damage. That’s when they came to our hospital.”

The CDC says 99% of MIS-C patients have tested positive for coronavirus, and the remaining 1% have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

The mean age of MIS-C patients was 9 years.

The CDC said: “CDC is working to learn more about why some children and adolescents develop MIS-C after having COVID-19 or being exposed to someone with COVID-19, while Others do not.”

“Based on what we now know about MIS-C, the best way you can protect your child is to take everyday actions to prevent your child and entire family from contracting the virus that causes COVID. -19.”

The best steps parents can take include getting vaccinated and immunizing children 12 and older, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC.

And even if parents are fully vaccinated, there is still a small chance that they could develop a breakthrough infection without symptoms and unknowingly pass the virus on to their children.

That’s why all parents with young children should wear masks in public places in the home, Walensky said.

For kids who are too young to be vaccinated, it’s important “to surround them with people who have been vaccinated,” she says.


The American Academy of Pediatrics says long-term COVID-19 complications can be significant for children — even for some who initially have mild symptoms or no symptoms.

All pediatric patients who test positive should have at least one follow-up visit with their pediatrician, the AAP said.

Pediatricians should look for persistent or long-term COVID-19 problems such as respiratory symptoms, which may persist for three months or more; heart problems, including a type of heart inflammation called myocarditis; cognitive problems such as “brain fog”; headache; AAP said.

Children with moderate or severe COVID-19 may be at greater risk for heart disease, the pediatricians said.


With the Delta variant being so contagious, CDC recommends that students in kindergarten through 12th grade, along with teachers and visitors, wear masks in school.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends wearing a mask in school for everyone over the age of 2.

“Our children deserve full-time, in-person, safe learning with precautions. And that includes wearing masks for everyone in school,” Walensky said.

Some students will return to school for the first time in a year. But the long-awaited classroom learning can quickly be derailed by an infection or outbreak.

In Mississippi and Florida, thousands of students just starting the school year have been quarantined.

And it didn’t take long for COVID-19 to close schools again. Even one case can have a ripple effect on students, faculty, and staff.

“We need an adult to run the school, and if my adult is sick or needs to be isolated, I don’t have an adult available to educate me,” said Carlee Simon, superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools in Florida. .

“When we have families who don’t want to put masks on their kids, what they’re doing is not just (increasing) the likelihood of them having to be quarantined,” said Simon.

If a student is infected, “they will also have other students wearing masks who also need to be quarantined.”

“Everybody wants to move forward. Nobody wants to wear a mask forever,” Simon said. But “we want to be able to be safe and have instructional time with our students.”

In addition to masks in schools, the CDC recommends placement of other strategies such as improved ventilation, physical distancing, and screening on a screening basis.


Doctors say protecting children from COVID-19 can help everyone in the long run.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, self-replicating in new people, it has more of a chance to mutate — potentially leading to more contagious variants, or one that could evade a vaccine.

“Of course, that’s the concern,” Walensky said.

People who are fully immunized are less likely to be infected with Delta variants.

But unvaccinated people – including unvaccinated children – are more susceptible to infection. And they can inadvertently help create new variations, Offit says.

“If we continue to allow this virus to spread, we will continue to allow these variants,” he said.

“We will not be able to stop this pandemic until we have a significant proportion of the population vaccinated.”


Walensky said: “Although children are at a much lower risk of dying from COVID-19 than adults, the deaths are still significant.

According to CDC figures, at least 520 American children have died from COVID-19. During the 2019-20 flu season, the CDC reported 199 confirmed childhood flu deaths and an estimated 434 childhood flu deaths.

Dr. James Campbell, professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said one reason COVID-19 is more lethal to children than other infectious diseases is that more children are vaccinated against other diseases.

“Nobody dies from polio, nobody dies from measles in the United States. Nobody dies from diphtheria,” Campbell said.

But while children aged 12 to 17 can get the COVID-19 vaccine, many have failed to do so. And it’s not clear exactly when a vaccine might be approved for use in children under 12 years of age.

The 7-year-old daughter of Rebecca Calloway, Georgia, is one of thousands of young children who are testing different doses of COVID-19 vaccines to make sure they are safe and effective before they are approved.

Part of the reason Calloway enrolled Georgia in the children’s vaccine trial was because she recently lost her 3-year-old daughter to another unexpected illness – type 1 diabetes – and not would like to have more families who have lost a child to COVID-19.

While child deaths from COVID-19 and Type 1 diabetes are rare, Calloway said, “You don’t want to be that statistic.”


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