Children Under The Age Of 12 Are Becoming More Vulnerable To COVID-19

In preparation for the start of the new school year two and a half weeks ago, a pediatric cardiologist from Louisiana now traveled to the Georgia Mountains with her husband, their three young children, and other immediate family members. It was a vacation that the pandemic had sanctioned in many respects: all nine adults who attended had had their complete vaccinations. The majority of the vacation was spent outside, bicycling, swimming, and hiking with the group. 

Then, on the last night of the trip, on July 27, the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reverted to urging vaccinated individuals to stay inside and wear masks, one of the parents became ill. A test showed that there had been a minor breakthrough case of COVID-19.

Children Under The Age Of 12 Are Becoming More Vulnerable To COVID-19

According to the cardiologist, none of the other adults contracted the coronavirus while on vacation, which she describes as “complete evidence that the vaccination was effective.” However, within a week, six of the eight children on the trip, all of whom were too young to be eligible for vaccinations, were diagnosed with coronavirus infections, which had previously been undiagnosed.

Children, as they have been throughout the epidemic, continue to be at much reduced risk of being severely ill from the coronavirus

Two of the cardiologist’s three kids were among the afflicted members of the group. According to the cardiologist, both boys, who were 5 and 11 years old, exhibited just a scattering of cold-like symptoms. Despite this, the whole experience has been challenging for their family, which has been divided into “isolation zones” quite literally. 

The family’s situation is a reflection of the unpredictable and challenging time that so many Americans are experiencing as the epidemic changes course once again. The COVID-19 vaccinations have done an incredible job of eradicating illness and preventing its occurrence. However, as the hyper-transmissible Delta strain wreaks havoc on the United States, the unvaccinated group that includes about 50 million children less than the age of 12 is bearing the brunt of the consequences of the outbreak. Patients admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 in children and adolescents are increasing at an alarming rate, as are instances among unvaccinated adults. 

Child hospitalizations have reached an all-time pandemic high. In the final week of July, over 72,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded in children, accounting for roughly a fifth of all known infections in the United States and more than tripling the figures from the previous week. Children see the “largest increase in the epidemic so far,” according to Lee Beers, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who spoke with me. During the previous week, that exact figure increased to almost 94,000.

The most severe pediatric cases are among the most challenging cases of the epidemic to date. When it comes to children’s hospitals in the South, where the communities have writhed to get injections into their arms and where enthusiasm for masks has been sporadic, critical care units are filling to capacity. Health professionals in many states report that children, many of whom were previously healthy, are becoming sicker and deteriorating quicker than ever before, with no apparent end in sight.

Children, as they have been throughout the epidemic, continue to be at much reduced risk of being severely ill from the coronavirus, particularly when compared to unvaccinated adults. Although rare, the current outbreak of diseases among the nation’s children and adolescents serves as a sobering reminder of the COVID-19 adage that reduced risk does not always imply any danger. As a result of the large number of children who are unable to receive vaccines and their health being dependent on those around them, the guardians and parents must now navigate the reality that Delta represents a more serious threat to everyone, which means it represents a more serious threat to children as well.

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