Pediatric COVID hospitalizations increase just as children get ready to go back to school

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. Doctors in South Florida report an increase in pediatric COVID cases just as students prepare to go back to school.

At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Broward County, pediatricians treated just over 20 children with COVID in June and more than 240 children with COVID in July. In just the first 10 days of August, they treated 160 children with COVID. On Tuesday, five children were in the Intensive Care Unit.

dr. Pablo Marcelo Laufer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said there has also been an increase in COVID cases at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami-Dade County. On Tuesday, pediatricians treated 25 COVID patients, including 18 who were hospitalized regularly and seven who remained in the ICU.

“None of the patients admitted to the hospital, who are older than 12, have been vaccinated,” Laufer said, adding that he was concerned about “children going to daycares, camps and soon to go to school.”

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Laufer said many of the pediatric patients ages 12 and older have underlying health conditions, such as diabetes and obesity. dr. Joshua Lenchus, the chief medical officer at Broward Health, said the situation is changing rapidly.

“Last year we didn’t see this huge explosion of children,” Lenchus said.

More Younger COVID Patients Need Hospitalization During Delta Variant Powered Wave

dr. Hany Atallah, the chief physician at Jackson Memorial Hospital, said the Delta variant, the dominant coronavirus mutation in the US, is to blame. He said doctors are seeing higher viral loads and more transmissibility. More patients who do not have the protection of a vaccine are experiencing more severe symptoms.

“It’s a daily challenge,” Atallah said.

Children still have a lower rate of hospitalization than adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics, or AAP, and the Children’s Hospital Association, or CHA, also reported a “significant” increase in pediatric COVID cases across the country. Florida had the second cumulative number of childhood COVID-19 cases in the country after California, according to the report.

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The Food and Drug Administration has not approved any vaccines for children under the age of 12. dr. Lee Savio Beers, the president of AAP, sent a letter to the FDA on Aug. 5 reporting that since the start of the pandemic, 14.3% of total cumulative cases have been reported, and for the week ending July 29, children were 19% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases.

“The higher percentage of cases in this population means this age group could help fuel the further spread of COVID-19,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, more than 350 children have died from COVID.”

Total Pediatric Patients Hospitalized in Florida: The reporting cut-off date was Aug. 5 and updated Aug. 10.

Confirmed and suspected COVIDConfirmed and suspected COVID coverageConfirmed COVIDConfirmed COVID coveragePrevious admission pediatric COVID confirmedPrevious admission pediatric COVID suspected20723118823123148

Source: US Department of Health and Human Services data from teletracking.

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Florida child COVID-19 data available Aug 5: (As of 24/6/21, FDOH stopped reporting child hospitalizations)

Age categoryChild population 2019Cumulative child cases% of children of total number of cases Cumulative total number of cases Cases for 100,000 children0-143,512,139243.1169.4%2,590,6996922.2

Source: joint report AAP and CHA

Florida mortality data is available as of August 5

State officials report that 39,695 people have died from COVID in Florida, including 175 who died during the week of July 30 – August. 5.

Age Range Cumulative COVID DeathsUnder 16716-2916630-3941440-491,16150-592,94460-642,81665+32,186

Source: Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report (August 6)

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