DETROIT – Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalization rates increased 311% between Feb. 19 and April 20, 2021 in Michigan.
That’s according to data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA). The data shows that the number of children hospitalized with severe COVID-19 symptoms hit a high of 70 this week.
“Parents have a lot of questions. They’re like, ‘Why is my child affected?’ You know, ‘When did he get the COVID? Why is his body producing all these inflammatory markers,” Dr. Banu Kumar, the Chief of Pediatric Medicine at DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, said.
There are 1,500 pediatric COVID cases diagnosed every day.
“Lot of the kids we see are otherwise healthy, you know. They’re perfectly fine and then they are in the ICU and getting all sorts of aggressive medications to try to reverse the process,” Dr. Bishara Freij, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Beaumont Children’s, said.
In Michigan, the rates of pediatric infections are higher than at any other point during the pandemic. Doctors said there’s a variety of reasons at play, including the highly transmissible U.K. variant, schools reopening and kids under 16 being ineligible for the vaccine.
“We’re seeing more than we did previously. So, it turns out this COVID pneumonia is in adolescence. We have seen many more than we had seen at any point during the pandemic,” Freij said.
Children developing Multi-System Inflammatory Response Syndrome is of particular concern to healthcare providers.
“Now that is a scary condition. The reason it’s scary is because no one really knows why it happens and certain children versus others and why it affects a lot of the organs,” Kumar said.
The organs impacted are particularly the heart, brain and kidneys. Doctors are urging parents to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing and get vaccinated.
“We are in a public health crisis. They should seriously think of doing it as a civic duty for the population. For everybody around them,” Kumar said.