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Fact or Fiction: Are more kids getting COVID?

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 6:19 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A heat map from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control shows COVID cases increasing in the state over the last two weeks, and you may have also heard that more kids are getting COVID right now.

MUSC Dr. Allison Eckard specializes in pediatric infectious disease and said it’s true.

“We are starting to see another surge of cases, and children are among those who are getting infected,” Eckard said. “You have to remember that many of our children, particularly the younger children, have not yet been vaccinated. So there are still many children who are vulnerable. So yes, we are seeing another spike of cases among young children.”

Numbers pulled from SC DHEC show 8.7 percent of COVID cases the last three months were in kids under 10. That’s compared to 2.4 percent last spring.

It appears the median and average age of cases has also steadily decreased.

Eckard said, thankfully, it’s now clear that children have less severe COVID than adults in general.

“But there are a couple of very common conditions that put children at an increased risk,” she said. “Such as asthma, diabetes, even some special needs kids because they have underlying immune system problem.”

Eckard says there are a couple of children with acute COVID hospitalized at MUSC right now. But it’s not physicians’ only concern at the hospital.

“We are seeing record numbers of patients with non-COVID respiratory viruses like RSV very different than other years. Our intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital are overflowing,” Eckard said.

She’s said it’s proof masks can protect unvaccinated kids from multiple viruses because as mass-wearing and restrictions lightened up, they saw more illness.

“Our first priority is the safety of our children and teachers,” said SC DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer in a recent press release. “That is why, above all else, we’re urging all eligible South Carolinians to roll up their sleeves and get vaccinated if they haven’t already done so. The last thing we want is for COVID-19 to spread through our schools causing avoidable illness.

The CDC advises, “If your child is two years and older, make sure that your child wears a mask in public settings.”

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