I-TEAM: Local doctor discusses rising COVID cases in children

Published: Aug. 5, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Our I-Team spoke with a pediatrician treating COVID patients at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to find out what the new numbers may mean for our kids.

“I think there’s a little bit of anxiety again about numbers looking the way they are. And, not just watching data, but seeing hospitalizations of kids,” said Dr. Jacob Eichenberger-Pediatric Hospitalist, assistant professor of pediatrics.

Our I-Team requested the number of admissions to the Children’s Hospital of Georgia for kids with COVID complications.

CHOG admissions
CHOG admissions(WRDW)

The numbers taper off in June, jump to seven admissions in July, and most concerning to Eichenberger nearly match last month’s spike already by the fifth day of this month. Just as kids head back to the classroom.

“This right now is worse than what was our peak,” he said. “This is the most kids we’ve had with COVID.”

But why? The delta variant is a more contagious strain. A recent study from the United Kingdom showed children and adults under 50 were 2.5 times more likely to become infected with the delta variant, so even though the outcomes do not appear any more SEVERE or DEADLY for kids, the likelihood of your child catching it goes up.

“Kids can definitely spread this one more easily,” he said.

We’re back here in it. Our kids can’t get vaccinated? What are we supposed to do?

“There’s a big debate on masks in schools, my kids all went back to school today they’re all wearing masks today,” he said.

The majority of cases they’re seeing right now, many with underlying health conditions, but what he said next may change my child case plans for the fall.

“It does seem to be the older age group that could be vaccinated, but we are seeing the younger age group. Infants even,” he said. “About one-third.”

Have been pretty healthy normal kids?

“That you don’t think about their health on a daily basis. They do everything that other kids do,” he said.

As a parent, that’s concerning.

We all weigh risks every day. But his best advice to parents?

“Don’t live in fear. Live on purpose. Do what you can to reduce your risk knowing that we are never going to get our risk to zero but we can def reduce it through very easy kind of common sense things,” he said.

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