Children’s Hospital says major surge in COVID cases, half of patients under the age of two
“Over the past four or five weeks, we’ve seen a major surge in cases,” said Physician-in-Chief Dr. Mark Kline.
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Today, the Louisiana Department of Health reported the death of an infant--less than one year old-- to COVID-19. While few details are known, doctors at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans said on any given day, there are at least 18 children in the hospital with COVID-19 with about half of those children are under the age of two.
“In literally one week, our census went from four to 18,” said Dr. Mark Kline, physician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital. “We’ll typically have five or six children in the intensive care unit, most of those are requiring mechanical ventilation.”
Dr. Kline said they’ve had children as young as 7 weeks come into the hospital with COVID-19 issues.
“Sadly almost all of our kids we’re seeing with COVID were infected by an unvaccinated adult in their immediate environment,” he said. “That can be one of their parents, it can be an aunt or an uncle or it can be someone else who is close.”
He said half of the children they have hospitalized over the past month with COVID-19 actually have no underlying issues.
“They’re perfectly healthy kids who fall ill with COVID-19 and either end up in the acute care unit or the intensive care unit.”
Dr. Kline said the single most important thing that adults can do to help keep children safe is to get the vaccine. Right now, children under the age of 12 aren’t eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, but he said only 13 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 18 are vaccinated. And it’s not enough.
“This variant of the virus Delta really is hitting children much harder than anything we have seen previously,” he said.
And the number of cases is creeping up, according to Dr. Kline. “That’s an interesting aspect of this latest surge is that in the first year of the pandemic, only about 6 percent of reported cases occurred in children under 17. Now in Louisiana, we’re up to 30 or 31 percent but nationally it’s about 22 percent. So children are a much bigger component to this latest surge.”
He said the symptoms in children are similar to those in adults. What lands children in the hospital is pneumonia with respiratory issues.
Right now, all eyes will be on the fall and winter months as flu season enters the picture in addition to continued cases of RSV.
Watch the entire interview with Dr. Kline below:
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