- Cecilia Barria
- BBC News World
Hospitalizations of children affected by covid-19 reached their highest level in the United States since the country began monitoring this type of case about a year ago.
At the end of August, the average daily hospitalization was around 300, according to the US public health agency’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Doctors warn that the situation could worsen as schools start the school year and the more contagious Delta variant spreads across the country.
The mortality rate of children with covid is less than 1%, but the most serious problem, according to experts, are the consequences that the virus can cause.
Among them, the multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS, its acronym in English), which can cause damage to the heart, digestive, nervous and respiratory systems.
Pediatrician Christina Propst reports her experience in treating children with covid-19 and the situation at Texas Medical Center, the largest medical complex in the world.
“What I see in children with covid scares me. Some of my patients have needed intensive care, and in recent weeks there have been infant deaths at Texas Medical Center.
These deaths are devastating, especially when you see the suffering that an intubated child has had to go through for a long period of time.
The problem is that Delta is affecting more children than other variants. In fact, at Texas Pediatric Hospital, a third of children who arrive with covid need intensive care.
This usually means they need respiratory support. It’s really painful to see children intubated for covid.
I wouldn’t have said that a year ago when we had the Alpha variant, but that was nothing compared to what we’re experiencing now.
Covid cases in children across the country have quadrupled in the last month, and one reason is that the Delta variant is transmitted much more easily.
A second reason is that children are not being vaccinated. On the one hand, children under 12 are not eligible for immunization; on the other hand, many teenagers were not vaccinated. This is a big problem.
The third reason is the fact that many adults don’t wear a mask. They walk around as if there is nothing wrong, not knowing that they may be asymptomatic and therefore infect their children or other children.
I wish more people could see what frontline pediatricians are seeing now. It’s just tragic, heinous, devastating.
I feel the same way many pediatricians do. I feel a combination of pain, anger and frustration because the death of a child by covid is completely preventable.
If you have a child over the age of 12, you must have him vaccinated. It’s like when you demand that he buckle up in his car so his life isn’t in danger.
I have seen parents who have lost their children and beg people to get vaccinated to spare other families the pain they are feeling.
I remember a case where one of my patients, a baby just five weeks old, was diagnosed with covid. The mother also had the disease.
It is a large family, with few economic resources and who does not speak English as a first language. Fortunately, this baby is fine and is now at home.
But other children, unfortunately, have very serious sequelae, such as a multisystem inflammatory reaction that can damage the heart, lungs, kidneys and other organs.
We are seeing an increase in this type of case, but many people don’t know this. If a child has myocarditis and contracts covid, he may suffer from heart failure. In other cases, you may suffer from kidney failure that requires dialysis even after the covid is cured.
I would say that, in addition to death, these are some of the most serious possible sequelae that the disease can cause.
There is also the long covid, which, in the case of children, took much longer to be identified. This is due, in part, to the fact that children generally do not interview, vote or donate to politicians.
If we pay attention to what is happening with children who have a long covid, we notice that they experience fatigue, headaches, mental confusion, sleep disturbances, discomfort, changes in smell and taste. Some of these children developed severe depression.
One of the most worrying things is that covid could have repercussions for decades to come with consequences we don’t even know about today.
The picture is getting complicated. About half of the covid tests I did in a single week were positive. That’s a 50% positivity rate in my sample alone.
And that was before the start of the school year in late August.
What I saw is that the opening of schools did nothing more than add more fuel to the fire, accelerating the positive rate among children, at least here in Houston [capital do Estado do Texas].
It’s scary indeed when the world’s largest medical center, Texas Medical Center, is on the verge of collapse.
The Texas Pediatric Hospital’s intensive care unit is crowded, and this affects other children who may need intensive care because they have had an accident or developed, for example, bacterial meningitis. What do you do with them?
A similar situation is also taking place in other parts of the US. In one week of August, in just one week, 180,000 new cases of covid in children were diagnosed in the country.
And many people don’t want to be vaccinated despite what we’re going through. Here in Texas, only 56% are vaccinated with both doses. At this point in the championship, that’s cruel.
People should take it seriously for the kids. At the moment, they are the most vulnerable group, because the elderly can receive a third dose.
Children, on the other hand, cannot even receive a first dose if they are under 12 years of age. So, for me, the most important thing is that everyone who can get vaccinated does it.
It may seem very obvious, but apparently this needs to be shouted out to everyone from the rooftops.
Our last hope now is that people wear masks and that we behave like responsible adults.
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