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Cornelius News

Children now make up more than a quarter of new COVID cases

Photo: Novant Health

Sept. 20. New data from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicate children now make up more than a quarter of the weekly COVID-19 cases in the United States. While vaccines have helped to protect our older, most vulnerable community members, they have yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration for children under 12 years old.

“We are seeing an increase in emergency room visits and a lot more admissions into the hospital,” said Dr. Eugene Daugherty, the medical director of Novant Health Hemby Children’s Hospital in Charlotte.

More kids getting sick

Dr. Eugene Daugherty

According to the AAP, since the pandemic began, children represented 15.5 percent of total cumulated cases. For the week ended Sept. 9, children were 28.9 percent of reported weekly COVID-19 cases.

Children under age 18 make up 22.2 percent of the US population.

More to come

Daugherty expects those numbers to continue to increase over the next few weeks, putting a strain on pediatric hospitals across the state.

While more than 25 percent of new COVID patients are children, the vast majority do not require hospitalization.

Likewise, the vast majority of pediatric cases do not result in death. Among states reporting, children were 0.00 percent to 0.27 percent of all COVID-19 deaths; seven states reported zero child deaths

Other infections

Daugherty said other infections that were somewhat limited last year because of mask wearing, social distancing and hand hygiene are now leading to higher volumes of co-infection.

—The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) typically starts out like a cold that involves runny nose and a cough that eventually goes away. But nearly 58,000 children have worsened symptoms and end up hospitalized each year. Parents should call their pediatrician if the infection starts to cause wheezing, difficulty breathing and other forms of respiratory distress.

—Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) is another condition that is believed to be linked to COVID-19 infections in children. MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs. MIS-C is rare, but severe cases have been reported two to four weeks after the onset of COVID-19 in children and adolescents.

If you think your child has been exposed to COVID-19, contact your pediatrician first, and they can advise you on next steps. If a COVID-19 test is recommended, that can be facilitated at a clinic, often from the convenience of your car.