Dr. Anthony Fauci reprimanded anti-vaxxers during a television appearance this week as an average of 334 children are admitted to the hospital daily with COVID in record numbers, while the Omicron-fueled surge is sending COVID-19 cases skyrocketing throughout the US.
The Chief Medical Advisor to the President told Adrienne Bankert of NewsNation’s Morning in America that the new CDC guidelines were an attempt to balance the need to keep society and the economy open and functional, while having people quarantine when necessary.
Fauci responded that it ‘doesn’t make any sense’ for parents to not get their children vaccinated for COVID-19, like they do with other childhood diseases.
‘If you look at the number of children right now going to the hospital who are in trouble getting seriously ill, you almost have to say it’s the responsibility of the parent to protect their child,’ Dr. Fauci said.
‘It is true that when you compare the hospitalizations and severe illness in young children compared to adults, particularly the elderly, there’s no doubt that the likelihood of getting seriously ill for a child is less than for an adult when you’re dealing with Covid-19.’
Dr. Anthony Fauci, pictured, took a frank approach as he remarked that rising numbers of children getting severely ill from Covid can be avoided if parents get their kids vaccinated
Fauci, right, told Adrienne Bankert of NewsNation’s Morning in America, right, that the new CDC guidelines were an attempt to balance the need to keep society and economy functional
Dr. Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, wears a face mask during the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s regular call with the National Governors Association
‘But that doesn’t mean that children do not get seriously ill. And all you have to do is go to any pediatric hospital right now, virtually anywhere in the country.’
Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious-disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the Associated Press that unlike last year when the vaccine had yet to be made available to adults and minors alike, parents don’t have an excuse to not vaccinate their children.
‘It’s just so heartbreaking,’ said Dr. Offit.
‘It was hard enough last year, but now you know that you have a way to prevent all this.’
During the week of December 22 through 28, an average of 378 children 17 and under were admitted per day to hospitals with the coronavirus, a 66 percent increase from the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.
The previous high over the course of the pandemic was in early September, when child hospitalizations averaged 342 per day, the CDC said.
On a more hopeful note, children continue to represent a small percentage of those being hospitalized with COVID-19: An average of nearly 10,200 people of all ages were admitted per day during the same week in December.
And many doctors say the youngsters seem less sick than those who came in during the delta surge over the summer.
Pictured: United States daily confirmed COVID case increases
Coronavirus deaths per day in the Unites States
Pictured: daily increases over the last three weeks in the US
Coronavirus latest, showing nearly 825,000 US deaths and almost 55 million US cases
Two months after vaccinations were approved for five- to 11-year-olds, about 14 percent are fully protected, CDC data shows. The rate is higher for 12- to 17-year-olds, at about 53 percent.
A study released Thursday by the CDC confirmed that serious side effects from the Pfizer vaccine in children ages five to 11 are rare.
The findings were based on approximately eight million doses dispensed to youngsters in that age group.
Dr. Albert Ko, professor of epidemiology and infectious diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, noted that the low vaccination rate is, in part, a matter of timing: Younger children were not approved for the vaccine until November, and many are only now coming up on their second dose.
Offit said none of the vaccine-eligible children receiving care at his hospital about a week ago had been vaccinated, even though two-thirds had underlying conditions that put them at risk – either chronic lung disease or, more commonly, obesity. Only one was under the vaccination age of five.
The scenes are heart-rending.
‘They’re struggling to breathe, coughing, coughing, coughing,’ Offit said.
‘A handful were sent to the ICU to be sedated. We put the attachment down their throat that’s attached to a ventilator, and the parents are crying’
None of the parents or siblings have been vaccinated either, he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci added that many kids are suffering, and some even dying, who do not need to be.
‘You see children there who are suffering, some even dying, who need not be in that situation, if they were vaccinated because virtually all — not 100 percent but close to that — of the children who are seriously ill in a hospital from COVID-19 are children whose parents decided they did not want to vaccinate them, and that is avoidable,’ he said.
And the next four to six weeks are going to be rough, Dr. Offit added: ‘This is a virus that thrives in the winter.’
Aria Shapiro, six, spent her 12th day Thursday at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. She tested positive for COVID-19 after getting her first dose of the vaccine December 17.
Aria, who is considered ‘medically fragile’ because she has epilepsy, suffered prolonged seizures in the hospital, and a breathing tube had to be put down her throat at one point, though she has since improved.
‘We lived our life in for two years to prevent her from getting COVID, finally went for the vax, and the one thing that we didn’t want to happen happened,’ said her mother, Sarah Shapiro.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, December 1, 2021
‘It wasn’t enough time for her body to build antibodies. She did end up getting COVID.’
Overall, new COVID-19 cases in Americans of all ages have skyrocketed to the highest levels on record: an average of 300,000 per day, or two and a half times the figure just two weeks ago. The highly contagious omicron accounted for 59 percent of new cases last week, according to the CDC.
Still, there are early indications that the variant causes milder illness than previous versions, and that the combination of the vaccine and the booster seems to protect people from its worst effects.
In California, 80 COVID-19-infected children were admitted to the hospital during the week of December 20-26, compared with 50 in the last week of November, health officials said.
Seattle Children’s also reported a bump in the number of children admitted over the past week. And while they are less seriously ill than those hospitalized over the summer, Dr. John McGuire cautioned that it is early in the omicron wave, and the full effects will become apparent over the next several weeks.
New York health authorities have also sounded the alarm.
The number of children admitted to the hospital per week in New York City with COVID-19 went from 22 to 109 between December 5 and December 24. Across all of New York state, it went from 70 to 184.
Overall, almost 5,000 people in New York were in the hospital with COVID-19.
‘A fourfold increase makes everybody jump with concern, but it’s a small percentage,’ Ko said of the New York City figures.
‘Children have a low risk of being hospitalized, but those who do are unvaccinated.’
Dr. Al Sacchetti, chief of emergency services at Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, New Jersey, likewise said vaccinated children are handling the omicron outbreak extremely well.
‘It makes a big difference in how these kids tolerate the disease, particularly if the child´s got some medical issues,’ he said.
COVID-19 deaths have proved rare among children over the course of the pandemic. As of last week, 721 in the US had died of the disease, according to data reported to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The overall US death toll is more than 800,000.
Almost 199,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported during the week of December 16-23, the pediatrics group said. That was about 20 percent of the more than 950,000 total cases recorded that week.
While many of these children will recover at home, they may have contact with others who are at much greater risk, said Dr. Jason Terk, a pediatrician in North Texas.
He cared for a 10-year-old boy with COVID-19 who managed the disease well, but his father got sick and died, he said.
‘The death of a parent is devastating, but the toxic stress for a young person in this situation is difficult to measure,’ he said.
Source: Daily Mail