(Trends Wide) — Covid-19 hospitalizations for those under 17 years of age peaked in late August at a rate approaching double the outbreak in early winter this year, according to CDC data, as many of the schools in the country returns to face-to-face classes.
An average of nearly 53 children a day were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases from Aug. 31 to Sept. 6, according to CDC data.
The surge in pediatric cases is alarming some school officials, although a health expert said Wednesday that the best way to turn the corner was to continue taking the pandemic seriously.
“We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. Some of us are on yachts. We have resources. We can work from home, we are immunocompetent, we have access to a vaccine, and some of us are on rafts,” he told Don. Trends Wide’s Lemon Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“We all need to do all we can to help those with less resistant trades, and that means getting vaccinated as soon as possible and wearing a mask according to CDC guidelines,” he said.
As part of a new push to raise awareness, President Joe Biden is expected to deliver an important speech Thursday afternoon on what is needed in the coming months. While Biden has encouraged companies to require vaccinations for workers, officials said they believe the private sector can do more to encourage people to get vaccinated. That includes requiring proof of vaccination in restaurants, bars and other places.
“The people of this country do not realize how fortunate we are and how easily we could return to some level of normality if everyone did their part, and I think that, sadly, they are going to take sticks because we no longer have carrots, “Christakis said.
Children now account for more than a quarter, or 26.8%, of weekly COVID-19 cases nationwide, according to data released Tuesday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which is an increase. five times compared to a month before.
“After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with more than 750,000 cases added between Aug. 5 and Sept. 2,” the AAP data said.
As educators and students navigate a changing landscape, some schools and universities are returning to online learning after a wave of infections.
Georgia’s fourth-largest school system, Fulton County Schools, transitioned from one of its middle schools to remote learning “based on a high volume of positive cases and direct contacts,” according to the school system on Wednesday.
Connecticut College in New London announced Tuesday that all athletic classes and activities would be temporarily canceled, according to an alert posted by the university. Distance learning has been instituted and will be re-evaluated in seven to ten days.
Christakis noted that if more people were vaccinated and wore masks, she didn’t think it would be necessary to keep students out of schools for months. “We have already made our children pay an incredibly unfair price for this epidemic,” he said.
Several states report bleak state in hospitals
Along with an increase in COVID-19 infections, the increase in hospitalizations continues at hotspots around the country.
In Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare activated its Standards of Care in Crisis in the northern part of the state on Tuesday due to what it called “a massive increase in COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.”
Crisis standards of care are guidelines when there is concern that hospitals are running out of traditional resources, such as hospital beds.
“We have reached an unprecedented and unwanted point in the history of our state,” Governor Brad Little said in a written statement. “We have taken many steps to avoid getting here, but once again we need to ask more Idahoans to choose to receive the covid-19 vaccine.”
“Standards of care in a crisis is a last resort,” said Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen. “It means that we have exhausted our resources to the point where our health care systems cannot provide the treatment and care that we hope for.”
In Arkansas, only 23 ICU beds remain, according to Governor Asa Hutchinson, who pointed to data showing that 91.5% of those hospitalized and 90% of reported COVID-19 deaths were among those who were not fully vaccinated.
In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday that state hospitals “are still overwhelmingly flooded with cases of people who are not vaccinated.”
The state currently has 813 people hospitalized and reached an all-time high of 252 COVID-19 patients in the ICU on Wednesday, Justice said, with a record 132 patients on ventilators.
As of Wednesday, the state has “68 school outbreaks in 31 counties, (while) 10 schools and an entire county, Clay, are closed due to covid,” the governor said.
“We just have to use common sense, get vaccinated and then we will stop this,” he said.
Nearly 102,000 people in the US are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to HHS data on Wednesday, with about 25,700 in ICUs.
The vaccine remains key, says director general of Health
For the Covid-19 pandemic to end in the US, preventive vaccination remains the key, US Chief Health Officer Dr. Vivek Murthy told Trends Wide’s Jim Acosta on Wednesday.
About 53.3% of all Americans are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. The current average of 7 days of vaccinations started fell 18% from last week, although this may be due to the Labor Day holiday weekend and could increase again in the coming days.
When asked if Americans who refuse to get vaccinated will perpetuate the pandemic, Murthy said: “We live with various respiratory viruses, including the common cold, and we can manage it. What’s different between those viruses and delta is that they don’t cost us the kinds of numbers that we see in terms of lives lost, in terms of hospitalizations. “
Murthy said that through vaccines and other safety measures in places like schools, the US can reduce its current numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
“We know what steps to take to reduce risk within schools,” Murthy said. “We know that universal masking helps. We know that regular testing works. We know that distancing whenever possible is helpful. We know that keeping children home from school when they are sick also helps.”
Trends Wide’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Naomi Thomas, Andy Rose, Carma Hassan, Melissa Alonso, Rebekah Riess, Mallory Simon, Maria Cartaya, Evan McMorris-Santoro, Deidre McPhillips, Kevin Liptak, Kaitlan Collins, and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.