The delta variant has fueled more trouble among the children in the US as more kids need hospital care now due to the infectious variant. The spread of the Delta variant has sent COVID-19 cases among US children surging 84 percent in a week.
Nationally, child hospitalizations for COVID-19 increased 84% between July 10 and July 31, from 665 to 1,224, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Delta-Fueled COVID-19 Surge is Sending More Children to Hospitals
A report published in The Philadelphia Inquirer says the current delta-fueled COVID-19 surge is sending more children to hospitals locally and across the nation, a sign, doctors said, that adults need to do a better job of protecting kids, especially those under 12 who cannot get vaccinated.
Almost 72,000 children and teenagers tested positive for the virus in the week ending July 29, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics. In the week before, nearly 39,000 cases were reported among children.
Sara Bode, director of school health services at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and chair of an AAP committee on school health, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that over the last two weeks, both the number of children testing positive and those needing hospitalization have doubled at her hospital.
She said, "While the numbers remain small, that's a significant trend that we need to be paying attention to." She worries the situation will worsen in the fall when children go back to school, people spend more time inside, and the virus spreads more easily.
'Major Concerns About Hospital Capacity'
Dr. Evan Anderson, a pediatric infectious diseases expert at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, warned that the convergence of viruses may overwhelm already stretched pediatric hospital wards, according to NBC News.
"Many children's hospitals get quite full during the usual winter months with influenza, RSV and other viral respiratory pathogens," Anderson said. With an added surge of Covid-19, "there would be major concerns about hospital capacity."
The surge in cases is overwhelming hospitals in hotspot states as hospitals are too full. Florida hospitals are suspending elective surgeries and putting beds in conference rooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria to try to make space, according to the Daily Mail.
Vaccination Rates Need to Rise Among Older Kids and Adults
Jonathan Miller, chief of primary care for Nemours duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington told The Philadelphia Inquirer that he is concerned because kids under 12 cannot yet receive vaccines, the delta variant is spreading rapidly, and many people have been taking fewer precautions.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, 4.09 million children in the U.S. have tested positive, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The spread of the more contagious Delta variant threatens to infect more children going forward, especially if they are unvaccinated.
Health authorities are urging vaccination of adolescents, especially as the students prepare to return to schools. Meanwhile, school districts and officials are having debates over COVID-19 restrictions. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order last week blocking mask mandates in the state's schools, saying parents had the right to decide if their children would wear face coverings.