What you need to know about the delta variant
The delta variant has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the US in the summer of 2021, increasing the number of cases and hospitalizations.
According to data collected by the US Department of Health and Human Services, record numbers of children are hospitalized with COVID-19.
As of August 14, just over 1,900 pediatric hospitalizations due to COVID-19 were reported. As of August 15, just over 1,800 children were hospitalized for COVID-19, according to the HHS.
Both datasets include confirmed and suspected COVID-19 pediatric hospital admissions.
“As of August 12, more than 4.41 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. More than 121,000 cases were added in the past week, a continued substantial increase. After a decline in early summer, childhood cases have steadily increased since early July,” according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
FILE – An ambulance is seen at the emergency entrance of the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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Since the start of the pandemic, children have represented 14.4% of the total cumulative cases. As of last week, children accounted for 18.0% of reported weekly cases of COVID-19, the AAP said.
Children’s hospitals across the country confirmed an increasing number of pediatric hospital patients, including Nashville-based Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Children’s Hospital Colorado and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Texas Children’s Hospital also reported an increase in COVID-19 cases among younger residents, with the delta variant accounting for more than 80% of new cases as of July 1.
“Over 80% of our new cases since July 1 in children and adolescents are due to the delta variant. So we know it is a highly contagious variant. So we expect this upward trend in the number of cases to continue.” over the next few days and weeks,” Dr. Jim Versalovic, Texas Children’s Hospital chief pathologist and interim pediatrician, told the Texas Standard.
Children under the age of 12 cannot currently receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Studies on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines in younger children are still ongoing.
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Moderna said it expects to have enough data to apply for FDA authorization to vaccinate younger children by the end of this year or early 2022. Pfizer has said it expects to file an application in September for children ages 5 to 11.
The United States now averages about 650 deaths a day, more than 80% more than two weeks ago and going past 600 for the first time in three months on Saturday. In late July, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools across the country, regardless of vaccination status.
Data on the age and demographics of victims during the delta wave are still limited, but hospitals in virus hotspots say they see significantly more admissions and deaths among people under the age of 65.
A Texas hospital is seeing an increase not only in COVID-19 cases, but also in RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus.
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“The combination of RSV and Covid together has certainly proven to be very, very challenging, especially because there we will see our younger children who get Covid have problems if they have both,” said Dr. Seth Kaplan, president of the Texas Pediatric Society, in an interview with FOX 4 Dallas. “In that regard, we are concerned about what will happen later in the season when flu makes its comeback.”
RSV usually results in mild, cold-like symptoms, and while most recover within two weeks, certain populations are at higher risk for serious illness, such as infants and older adults, according to the CDC.
Most of the more serious cases are older, teens, and all unvaccinated. Dell Children’s Medical Center has had no deaths in the pediatric ward from COVID-19 but has noted an increase in the severity of the disease.
The younger patients mark a shift from the elderly and frail, many living in nursing homes, who succumbed to the virus a year ago before states made seniors a priority to get vaccinated first. More than 90% of seniors have had at least one injection, compared to about 70% for Americans under 65.
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While the US is currently seeing an average of about 129,000 new infections per day — a 700% increase from early July — that number could rise to 200,000 in the coming weeks, a level not seen since one of the worst days of the pandemic. in January and February, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health.
Both he and Dr. Anthony Fauci stressed that the best way to contain the virus is for unvaccinated people to get their injections.
Currently, about 60% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose, and nearly 51% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Areas with low vaccination coverage have been particularly hard hit by infections, such as Louisiana, Texas, Florida and Mississippi.
The rapidly escalating increase in infections in the US has led to a shortage of intensive care beds, nurses and other frontline personnel in virus hotspots that can no longer keep up with the flow of unvaccinated patients. Health officials also warn that more children who are not yet eligible for vaccines could become infected, although it is not clear whether the delta variant leads to more serious illness in them.
“That’s heartbreaking, considering we never thought we’d ever be in that space again,” Collins said of rising U.S. infections in general. “But here we are with the delta variant, which is so contagious, and this heartbreaking situation where 90 million people are still unvaccinated who are ducks against this virus, and that’s the mess we’re in. We’re in it.” a world of hurting.”
The Associated Press, FOX News. FOX 7 Austin contributed to this report.