With Delta variant increasing pediatric COVID cases in Broward, doctors recommend face masks and vaccines

The team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is recommending children wear a face mask in public if they are older than two years old and get the protection of the COVID vaccine if they are older than 12 years old.

Their recommendation to parents in Broward County on Wednesday comes just as the hospital reports there is an ongoing surge in pediatric COVID cases and as students are preparing to go back to public schools on Aug. 18.

Anthony Sanders, the emergency room nurse manager at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said children usually get sick after they return to school. He is bracing for more COVID cases.

“Traditionally, once they go back is when they start to come in to see us, you know basically the normal colds and things like that, but when you throw COVID into the mix, we don’t know what flu is going to look like, and the other childhood viruses and illnesses that they normally get,” Sanders said. “It’s just a lot scarier this time.”

Dr. Ronald Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, said the children who are infected with the Delta variant of the coronavirus are experiencing more severe symptoms. The hospital treated just over 20 pediatric COVID cases in June, more than 240 in July, and so far has had nearly 160 in August.

“We are well on our way to breaking July’s record,” Ford said on Wednesday.

Ford wants parents to consider the science behind the protections that face masks and vaccines are able to provide for their children to remain healthy.

“Masking has been shown to reduce the incidence of transmission and reduce the chances of children getting COVID-19,” Ford said. “I highly recommend that the vaccine be given. This is again another layer of safety that we can offer our children.”

Hospitalization data shows the likelihood of a child landing in the hospital with COVID remains lower for children than adults.

Also, most children with COVID have been spared from developing long-term symptoms, but epidemiologists around the world are tracking the cases of those who haven’t. In rare COVID cases, researchers found children are experiencing lingering issues such as muscle and joint pain, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Florida’s mortality data available as of Aug. 5

State officials report 39,695 people have died of COVID in Florida, including 175 who died during the week of July 30-Aug. 5.

Source: Florida Department of Health COVID-19 Weekly Situation Report (Aug. 6)

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