Texas Children's Hospital reports increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations due to delta variant
HOUSTON - Texas Children's Hospital reports an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past month, especially in the past two weeks.
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"It's important to emphasize that in a wholly unvaccinated population under 12 years of age, it's no different now than it was last summer in 2020 for these children," said Dr. James Versalovic, Interim Pediatrician-in-Chief.
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He notes the like in adults, the delta variant accounts for more than 80 percent of cases in the pediatric population.
"The children are presenting now a little differently with the delta variant. More prominent fever and congestion," Dr. Versalovic explained.
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He says since the start of the pandemic, TCH has diagnosed 15,000 COVID-19 cases. Roughly 10 percent end up hospitalized; a third of those in critical care.
"We have had some children that have required ventilator support that is why we are working so diligently to make vaccines available to kids under 12 in the near future," Dr. Versalovic added.
He believes it's the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated adults and older adolescents who are infecting children. Although most cases appear mild he stresses there is the possibility of complications down the line.
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"Some children may present 3, 4, 6 weeks later after a very mild infection with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) which can be very serious," Dr. Versalovic warned.
As for breakthrough infections among those 12 and over who are vaccinated, he says that data is not available yet because vaccinations among that age group began in May.
Dr. Versalovic stresses the best thing parents can do to protect their kids is get vaccinated themselves, get their children vaccinated if they're 12 and older, and, if they suspect their child has COVID-19 or is showing cold-like symptoms, talk to their pediatrician to see if the child should get tested.