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‘Incredibly concerning’: MUSC says severity of COVID among children, rate of hospitalizations at a high

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 2:51 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 5:17 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Doctors at the Medical University of South Carolina said more children are being hospitalized for COVID than ever before, and these children are much sicker than before, too.

New data from MUSC shows the number of children admitted to their Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital with COVID in August and September makes up 40 percent of all COVID-19-related admissions since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to MUSC, 74 children were admitted with COVID in the past two months, 14 of whom were on ventilators and four of whom were on ECMO, a machine that manually oxygenates a person’s blood when their lungs aren’t working.

Dr. Allison Eckard with MUSC said that’s thanks to the delta variant, which is five to eight times more infectious and is getting children much sicker, too.

She said it is also untrue that healthy children aren’t at risk for severe COVID.

“We’ve had to use ventilators in 11 children in the last 2 months, and many of those children have had no underlying conditions,” Eckard said. “One might say, ‘Oh, that’s just 11,’ or ‘Oh, that’s just 5 requiring ECMO.’ Or I’ve heard people say, ‘That’s just 20 in the state who have died.’ But these are people’s children.”

According to Eckard, the number of children who suffered from MIS-C—a severe inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID—almost doubled last month compared to the previous monthly high.

When it comes to case numbers, Eckard said since the beginning of school this year, there have been more than 2,300 COVID cases within the Charleston County School District. That makes up 83 percent of the total of the entire 2020-2021 school year last year.

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