What is clear is that a confluence of factors – including Delta’s contagiousness and the fact that people under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination – are sending more children to hospital. , especially in parts of the country where the virus is on the rise. “If you have more cases, then at some point of course it spills over to the kids,” Dr Malley said.
Many children’s hospitals were hoping for a quiet summer. Several ordinary childhood viruses are less common during the warmer months, and national Covid rates have declined in the spring.
But last month, as Delta expanded, that started to change. “The number of positive Covid tests started to climb in early July,” said Marcy Doderer, president and CEO of Arkansas Children’s Hospital. “And then that’s when we really started to see the kids getting sick.”
The vaccines are effective against Delta – and offer powerful protection against serious illness and death – but children under 12 are not yet eligible. As more adults get vaccinated, children account for a growing share of Covid cases; between July 22 and July 29, they accounted for 19% of new cases reported, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“These are the unvaccinated,” said Dr Yvonne Maldonado, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Stanford Medicine and chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “This is where we see all the new infections.”
From July 22 to July 29, nearly 72,000 new pediatric cases of Covid were reported, almost twice as many as the week before, according to the association. At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, 181 children tested positive for the virus in July, up from just 12 in June.
Most of these children have relatively mild symptoms, such as runny nose, congestion, cough or fever, said Dr Wassam Rahman, medical director of All Children’s Pediatric Emergency Center. “Most of the children are not very sick,” he said. “Most will go home and receive preventive care at home. But as you can imagine, families are afraid.