Louisiana reports influx of pediatric COVID-19 cases amid delta variant-fueled surge

What you need to know about the delta variant

Experts say the delta variant spreads more easily because of mutations that make it better at holding cells in our bodies.

NEW ORLEANS Louisiana’s largest hospital system is seeing more pediatric COVID-19 patients as the highly contagious delta strain of the virus spreads.

Ochsner Health said Wednesday that the system had no pediatric COVID-19 patients a few weeks ago, but the number has ranged from five to 15 in the past two weeks.

dr. However, William Lennarz, chief of pediatrics at the Ochsner Hospital for Children, says that doesn’t mean the delta variant affects children disproportionately. He says that “what’s different is that children are now the most susceptible population because children under 12 are 100% unvaccinated.”

Lennarz also says that most of the hospitalized children are not seriously ill with COVID-19. He says that is still a very rare event for young people affected by the corona virus.

FILE – Mother hugs children after receiving their second Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Friday, June 25, 2021 as part of the KidCOVE trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Moderna vaccine in young children.

RELATED: Florida doctors see an 87% increase in COVID-19 cases in children under 12

Health officials in some parts of the country have raised the alarm about the increasing number of hospitalizations among pediatric COVID-19 patients, but whether the risk to this population has changed due to emerging variants such as delta remains unclear.

“Because the delta variant is more contagious than the original virus, more children will become infected if there are no other layers of protection,” said Dr. Kristen Navarette, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and medical director at MVP Health Care. Fox news. “Now is the time to continue masking, sticking to outdoor activities, sticking to your pod and social distancing. A small percentage of children have been hospitalized with COVID-19. As more children become infected with the delta variant, We anticipate the number of children admitted to hospital to increase.”

In Florida, the number of new COVID-19 infections nearly doubled to exceed 45,000 by mid-July. The exponential increase in new cases occurs in every age group.

“In children under the age of 12, it was an 87% increase, and in children aged 12 to 19, it was an 84% increase,” said Dr. Jason Salemi, associate professor of epidemiology at USF College of Public Health.

RELATED: North Texas pediatric hospitals see spike in pediatric COVID-19 cases

At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, this has translated into an increase in emergency room visits. The chief medical officer tells FOX 13 News that a record number of pediatric patients are testing positive for COVID-19.

“We’ve seen more patients in the last seven days than any other seven days since the start of the pandemic, so we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the number of children,” said Dr. Joseph Perno.

Children’s hospitals in North Texas are again seeing a worrying increase in COVID-19 cases, not just among adults, but now children.

Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth reports case numbers at rates not seen since February.

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Cook Children’s currently has 13 children hospitalized with COVID, while Children’s Health has 16 between its Dallas and Plano locations.

Because some children experience severe COVID symptoms, Cook Children’s Director of Infection Control Dr. Marc Mazade that unvaccinated adults must do their part to protect our youngest vulnerable population.

“The key to keeping schools open is to vaccinate all parents, adults and eligible children as soon as possible,” he said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 337 pediatric COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic, but an in-depth analysis – like the one in England – has not taken place.

RELATED: Symptoms of COVID-19 Delta variant: what we know and what to watch out for

The UK data showed that the overall risk of children becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus is extremely low, with the researchers, from several universities noting that most of the fatalities involving young people occurred in people with underlying health problems.

Data published through July 22 by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), including reports from 43 states, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam, indicated that children accounted for 0.00-0.26% of all COVID-19 deaths, with eight states reporting zero deaths.

Still, CDC officials cited data related to the delta variant when advising that there are universal mask mandates for K-12 schools, where the majority of the student population is unvaccinated. The US has not approved any COVID-19 vaccine for children under 12 and only about 30% of adolescents aged 12-17 have received one.

The delta variant, which behaves drastically differently from other strains of the coronavirus, especially peaks in low-vaccination areas, and at a time when schools are preparing to welcome students back for personal learning.

RELATED: COVID-19: What you need to know about symptoms, the delta variant and vaccines

The variant doesn’t just affect the unvaccinated, both the CDC and federal officials have warned, with breakthrough cases also occurring in increasing numbers. This may be due to vaccinated people stepping up their social activities, several experts told Fox News. Still, serious illness among vaccinated individuals remains rare due to the vaccine’s efficacy.

“The message is clear – the vaccine is much, much safer at providing immunity than taking the chance that your child could get infected and have bad side effects from the infection,” Dr. Robert Amler, dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College, and a former medical director of the CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said. “It’s much, much safer than a wild or natural infection, and parents should take every opportunity to get their child vaccinated.”

Currently, children under the age of 12 cannot receive the vaccine.

Moderna said last week it expects to have enough data to apply for FDA authorization to vaccinate younger children by the end of this year or early 2022. Pfizer has said it expects to file an application in September for children ages 5 to 11.

The Associated Press, FOX News, FOX 13 Tampa and FOX 4 News contributed to this report.

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