Story at a glance
- COVID-19 cases are rising in some parts of the country, especially where vaccination rates remain low.
- Children, who are not eligible for a vaccine until age 12, are increasingly falling victim to the delta variant.
- About 10 percent of children testing positive for coronavirus are requiring hospitalization and some require critical care, including ventilators.
The delta variant of the coronavirus continues to set itself apart from previous strains, sending more and more children to the hospital and even putting some on ventilators.
“Currently, roughly 10 percent of those children who test positive do require hospitalization and roughly one-third of those may require critical care," Jim Versalovic, Pathologist-in-Chief and Interim Pediatrician-in-Chief at Texas Children’s Hospital, told the Houston Press. Some of those children have required ventilator support, he added, saying, “We have seen severe cases of COVID pneumonia and acute respiratory distress in children. And we certainly have used ventilators when appropriate, selectively.”
On Wednesday, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported more than 10,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the delta variant driving the increase in a state where less than half of the population is fully vaccinated. More than 5,000 of a total of more than 80,000 confirmed cases are in patients 19 or younger, an age group that was previously thought to be less susceptible to the virus.
Although vaccinations are not yet available for those under 12, schools have reopened and Texas’ governor is refusing to allow a mask mandate, including in schools, despite the urging of teachers and the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We certainly recommend that as children under 12 — who are all unvaccinated — as they participate in group activities and are preparing to return to school, we would encourage masking in schools,” Versalovic told the Houston Press. “And we would encourage distancing and sanitizing and the safe behaviors that we learned and practiced since the spring of 2020.”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW