Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “This is what really scares me: in the last three weeks, we’ve gone from the number of kids testing positive from 20,000 to 40,000 to 72,000,” she said, citing data from July.
The number of kids who tested positive for Covid during the week ended Aug. 5 was even higher at 93,824, according to the most recent data from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Weingarten, who was speaking in an interview Wednesday with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” said schools should give teachers time off to get the shots and allow for medical and religious exemptions for those who don’t want them.
“Kids under 12 can’t get vaccines, this delta virus is very transmissible, so we need to be in school for our kids, with our kids, but we need to keep everyone safe,” Weingarten said. “And that means vaccines are the single most important way to do it, and the second way to do it is masks.”
How Many Young People Hospitalised Due to COVID-19?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there were over 580,000 new cases of COVID-19 among children for the week ending January 6, 2022, an increase of 78% from the previous week.
According to the CDC, the average number of paediatric hospital admissions per day for the week ending January 2 was 672, the highest daily total for any week during the epidemic.
Dr. Murray thinks that things are heading in a similar direction at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.
A lot more people have been admitted to hospitals than usual since December. Dr. Murray adds that while it’s impossible to tell for sure, Omicron is almost certainly responsible for the vast majority of cases.
Prior to the month of December, the greatest monthly total of children hospitalised with COVID was 22. In December of this year, we welcomed 46 new little ones.
Dr. Murray reports that as of January 12th, Yale had admitted more than 60 children suffering from COVID.
There is an increasing pattern of hospitalizations among children under the age of 11, he says, and the vast majority of these children are not vaccinated.
Though Dr. Murray estimates that around 65% of COVID-19 patients at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital were treated for issues directly connected to their infection, some patients are admitted for unrelated medical issues and COVID-19 is found incidentally.
Children With Symptoms of COV Infection of the Upper Airway
Dr. Murray has reported that many of the paediatric COVID-19 patients, especially the youngest ones, are showing considerable upper respiratory symptoms. This is consistent with the Omicron strain, which, unlike prior versions, appears to target the upper airways (nose, throat, windpipe) rather than the lungs.
Upper respiratory infections can be difficult for young children to deal with since their airways are narrower and it doesn’t take as much inflammation to clog them as it does for adults.
Dr. Murray has noticed an increase in the number of younger patients presenting with “barky, croup-like coughs.” It’s an issue for babies and young kids if their noses are stuffy.
Dr. Murray adds that with the right kind of care, most kids will make a full recovery. Sometimes they require oxygen therapy. New COVID-19 therapies are becoming available for youngsters over the age of 12, he adds.
Meanwhile, other respiratory diseases in children are happening, such as the flu and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), a common virus that causes cold-like symptoms in children.
We usually see RSV in the winter, but there was a significant spike in cases last spring. The number of patients has begun to decrease, but we are still witnessing a recurrence of influenza,” Dr. Murray adds.
Dr. Vázquez expresses alarm at the prospect of widespread paediatric viral infection. In fact, “flurona” has received a lot of attention recently.
Dr. Vázquez warns that “a person who is infected with influenza or another respiratory infection is at risk for more severe disease” if they contract a second infection on top of the first.
Moreover, this is a time of year when respiratory syncytial virus and circulating opportunistic virus type 19 (COVID-19) are also prevalent. While vaccines against influenza and COVID-19 are available, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines are not.