Texas has reached another grim milestone during the latest COVID surge: hospitalizations of children recently hit an all-time high. But it’s still unclear whether the virus is actually more dangerous for kids.
Julian Gill is a medical reporter for the Houston Chronicle. He told Texas Standard that 345 Texas children were hospitalized for COVID-19 on Saturday; on Sunday, it was 307.
“This is the highest two-day stretch during the pandemic,” Gill said. “I believe the highest number before this was 302.”
Gill says experts tell him that the increased transmissibility of the delta variant of COVID-19, reopening of schools and fatigue – people taking fewer COVID-19 precautions, over time – are causing increased hospitalizations among children.
The number of pediatric hospitalizations across the country is rising, too, especially among unvaccinated teenagers.
Children are also being hospitalized at high rates in Houston and around the country for respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV – a respiratory virus unrelated to COVID-19. Those increased numbers have put a strain on hospital resources.
In Houston, three campuses of Texas Children’s Hospital have opened mobile emergency units to expand outpatient capacity.
Gill says experts encourage mask-wearing in schools, since children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated for COVID-19. Children who acquire COVID-19 at school also put their families at risk for the disease.