ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Experts say more kids are ending up in the hospital due to COVID-19. Doctors at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital had just two patients in late June test positive for the virus, by the middle of August that number was up to 110 kids.
While their overall risk of dying from the disease is very low for children, Infectious Disease Doctor Juan Dumois says it is impacting their health in a variety of ways.
“The ones who are sicker, either have severe COVID-19 affecting their lungs, so they need oxygen, in some cases, their lungs are so badly affected that they need to be on a mechanical ventilator with a tube that goes into their lungs,” Dr. Dumois said.
The other, he adds, is kids have developed a condition that occurs after COVID called MIS-C which is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. The condition can occur several weeks after a child has been infected with the virus.
Doctors say most cases have evidence of inflammation in the heart and require both careful monitoring in the intensive care unit and several different medicines.
Currently, health experts say they are seeing mostly unvaccinated patients ending up in intensive care. Kids under 12 currently can’t be vaccinated to protect themselves against COVID-19.
“When we see children who are unnecessarily sick, and whom the infection could have been avoided if they were wearing masks at school, then it's a tragedy, it's really unnecessary. It scares the heck out of parents when their child is hospitalized for COVID, especially if they were misled into thinking their child would never be that sick," Dr. Dumois said.
According to Dr. Dumois, the coronavirus pandemic could easily continue on if people don’t get vaccinated. Vaccine manufacturers should be submitting requests for emergency use in kids ages 5 to 11 to the FDA by this fall.
Dumois says Pfizer is on track to turn over trial data later this month or in October and Moderna by the end of the year.