Pediatricians, medical community call for increased efforts to limit spread of COVID-19, citing jump in cases among children

April 20, 2021 09:39 AM

Logan Rude

Posted Apr 20, 2021 9:39 a.m.

MADISON, Delete. – A group of pediatricians and other members of the medical community are calling on the public to redouble efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, citing a worrying increase in cases among young people across the state.

According to UW Health experts, Wisconsin has seen more cases in people under 18 in recent weeks than any other age group. Health officials said the lack of vaccines approved for children, coupled with the prevalence of more contagious COVID-19 variants, helps fuel COVID-19 outbreaks in educational settings.

Nearly 470 possible outbreaks in educational institutions are being investigated, according to a UW Health press release. While COVID-19 is typically more serious for older adults, experts said the risk of serious illness in children should not be discounted.

“It is our collective responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of our most important and valuable resource – our children,” said Dr. Ellen Wald, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “Together we must ensure that we continue to adhere to mitigation strategies that we know are extremely effective in providing protection during in-person school and co-curricular activities, including athletics. As guardians of the safety of our children, please join this effort. “

According to recently published research from the Journal of the American Medical Association, 11.7% of the pediatric patients studied with COVID-19 investigators were hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 31.1% were ill enough to require intensive care.

Until vaccines are widely available to children, health officials said following public health safety precautions, including masking, social distancing, and staying at home when they feel unwell, are the best strategies for fighting the pandemic.

“We’ve come this far and we all have a role to play in limiting the spread of COVID-19. Until the vaccine is available for all ages, we strongly encourage everyone to continue wearing a mask, maintain social distance where possible and, as always, wash their hands thoroughly and often, ”said Dr. Michael Gutzeit , Chief Medical Officer, Children’s Wisconsin officer. “Prevention remains the most effective strategy to overcome this pandemic and we know that these safeguards work and can significantly limit the spread of the disease.”

The Department of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Children’s Wisconsin, Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Wisconsin Medical Society have all spoken out in favor of UW Health’s commitment to greater vigilance in the fight against COVID -19.

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