What the pediatricians are saying about the latest on kids and COVID

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 8:39 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Delta variant is different. We’ve heard doctors repeat that for months. A significant difference is how it’s impacting children.

The CDC just released a report on this issue Friday. It notes that, yes, hospitalizations and deaths are more frequent among adults. But children and adolescents aren’t an exception for severe outcomes.

The last three months, hospitalizations among infants to 4-year-olds increased 10 fold.

Mississippi’s pediatric hospitalizations are climbing and have been since late June. A brief from the children’s foundation of Mississippi shows August was the worst month yet for children needing to be admitted for the virus.

“What we’re seeing is kids do get sick, they do require intensive care,” said Dr. Jennifer Snow, Baptist Children’s PICU Medical Director. “Especially if they have comorbidities, if they’re overweight, if they’re obese, if they have asthma, if they have immunocompromising conditions, they can get critically ill. The vast majority still do fine. You know, they really do. But we have seen an increase in the severity of illness that we’ve seen.”

More than 23,000 Mississippi student were in quarantine last week because of exposure. Nearly 4,000 of them testing positive.

Although masks aren’t required in every districts, pediatricians say universal masking is needed. We asked Pediatrician Dr. John Gaudet if any one type of mask is better than others.

“The best mask is one that the child will wear,” noted Gaudet. “And so if you can have the most awesomely tight, well fitting, highly filtered mask, but if it’s more of an annoyance, and the child keeps ripping it off, then it’s it’s no matter how great the mask is.”

Still, both doctors say the first line of defense is the vaccine... even if you have little ones.

“If you have a child who’s not eligible for the vaccine, vaccinate everyone around that child that will provide sort of like a cocoon of protection for that child,” explained Gaudet.

“It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now,” added Snow. “And there’s a lot of hesitation still for to get that vaccine. And I can’t emphasize enough that that is our way out of this pandemic.”

Last week, Mississippi reported the sixth pediatric death due to COVID.

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