Increase in pediatric COVID cases blamed on Delta variant, loosening of mask mandates

NS. LOUIS – Relaxing mask mandates and a more contagious Delta variant are contributing to a rise in pediatric COVID-19 cases, according to health experts.

“What we’re seeing now with the Delta variant is a marked increase in the number of children testing positive for COVID,” said Dr. Marya Strand, Chief Medical Officer of Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. “We have a lot of pandemic fatigue and masks are not mandatory, people are not locked in their homes.”

At Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, staff members are preparing with their PPE to continue caring for the children on Wednesday.

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“Now that the mask mandates are being lifted a bit, it makes more diseases and germs spread a little more easily,” said Rachel Waller, a nurse at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

At the start of the pandemic, children made up less than five percent of COVID-19 cases. Now they account for almost 20%.

According to the Missouri Department of Health, the number of cases in children ages 0 to 9 is 3,054. And in children ages 10 to 19, the number of cases is 13,637.

“It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed, and the biggest thing we can really do right now is just wear our mask and do our part,” Waller said.

dr. Strand said the hospital is not full of COVID-positive patients. Children who test positive for COVID make up seven to eight percent.

“I think the most important thing for the little kids, the kids under 12 who can’t be vaccinated, is that they wear a mask,” she said.

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