Coronavirus Chronicles — Yes, Kids Get COVID-19

It is interesting that three branches of a denialist belief system are in vogue at any given time, with varying intensity, in different parts of the world, and even within one society. “Kids don’t get COVID-19.” “They don’t get it very bad.” “They don’t spread it around.” Simultaneously, things constantly happen to prove otherwise. Let’s bring up to date our journey through the history of thought regarding the relationship between children and the coronavirus. Or, at least some of the highlights.

Last December, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., were in dire straits. The CDC was estimating Omicron’s market share at 59 percent. But in Connecticut, the frightening variant accounted for 80% of new cases, and in New York, for 90%.

Hospital admission rates are contested because, among adults and children alike, record-keeping protocols are always subject to a degree of arbitrary decision-making. People (including children) who test positive for COVID are admitted to hospitals for other reasons, and if their virus is asymptomatic, they may not be included in the COVID-patient statistics. Then again, Andrew Jacobs wrote in The New York Times,

Alarming hospitalization figures can be misleading because they sometimes include all children who have tested positive for the coronavirus upon admission. Some hospitals around the country have reported positivity rates as high as 20 percent among children.

And a lot of grownups do not see this as a problem, or even admit it. Many professionals are cautious, like Boston Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Rick Malley, who says, “It’s premature to predict what’s going to happen with Omicron, because this virus has repeatedly surprised us.” Prominent New York pediatrician Dr. James Schneider reacted to the rapid increase in children struggling in the intensive care unit, and said, “[V]accination is the single most important thing you can do to protect your kid from getting sick with this virus.”

By the first month of 2022…

The situation has gone from “kids don’t get it” to “kids absolutely get it in all kinds of ways.” In Minnesota, Hannah Lichtsinn, M.D., told the press that her state’s children were “severely ill with COVID at rates like we’ve never seen.”

It had become obvious that Omicron was easier than the previous brands for children to catch., and there was suspicion of a shorter reinfection interval. Also, the new BA.2 strain showed a proclivity and a talent for reinfecting children in particular. Even when child vaccination is permitted, nobody can really keep accurate statistics on how many haven’t been reached. Still, in January it was suggested that only 15% of eligible children had received anti-COVID shots.

In the spring, journalist Adrianna Rodriguez explained to the public some of the home truths about heart-lung machines. Also known as ECMO, or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, this is the next step after intubation, and making that decision is very serious. Someone researched the records of 55 patients who, during a set time period, were recommended for ECMO treatment that turned out to be unavailable. Almost 90% of them “died in the hospital despite being young with few other health issues.”

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Omicron Is Not More Severe for Children, Despite Rising Hospitalizations,” NYTimes.com, 12/28/21
Source: “Nearly 90% of COVID patients who didn’t get critical care therapy they needed died despite being young and healthy, study says,” USAToday.com, 03/01/22
Image by Official U.S. Navy Page/CC BY 2.0

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The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:

Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources