The state of South Carolina has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country compared to all the other states, something that is now officially confirmed by the MUSC claiming that currently they see the highest number of children patients with severe Covid-19 condition since the start of the pandemic.
This comes at the time when South Carolina residents are seeing better Covid-19 situation across the state compared to several weeks ago, when the number were much higher.
“While it was true that, generally speaking, kids were less affected by COVID last year than adults, that’s no longer true. We’re seeing many more kids who are severely affected by COVID,” said Allison Eckard, M.D., the head of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at MUSC.
According to MUSC, only in August and September the hospital saw 40% of the total number of children they admitted since the start of the pandemic. Only in those two months, MUSC treated 74 children with severe condition as a result of the virus.
14 children out of those 74 ended up with highly serious condition and were put on ventilator.
Four were on a last resort form of life support called ECMO or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a machine which oxygenates the blood when a person’s lungs aren’t working, according to MUSC.
None of those patients were fully vaccinated when they arrived at the hospital, Eckard said.
“Many of our sickest children were eligible for vaccination, but their families chose not to vaccinate them. The vaccine is very safe and is our greatest tool to prevent not only covid cases in children but to keep as many children out of the hospital as possible,” Eckard said.
Experts agree that the Delta variant is the major reason for the recent trend which was not the case with the previous variants of the virus.
Additionally, South Carolina health experts believe that the high number of cases among children across the state is a result of the lower vaccination rate among general population, but this is especially notable to children aged 12-17.
Eckard also added that general mask mandates in schools might by far improve the current situation.
“The risks from COVID are far greater than the miniscule risk of a serious side effect associated with the vaccine and that includes children,” she said. “And a bonus to being vaccinated is that those children do not have to quarantine from school after close contact if they remain asymptomatic. Seems to me that vaccination is a win-win for children and families.”