Allegheny County officials implore adults to get vaccinated as cases among children rise - TribLIVE
As covid-19 cases among young children climb, Allegheny County officials again implored the public to get vaccinated — if not for themselves, then for the children who don’t have a choice in the matter.
“We know the delta variant, combined with the still significant number of unvaccinated people, is driving our trends,” said Health Director Debra Bogen, “and now it’s having an impact on our children, too.”
On Wednesday, the Allegheny County Health Department reported a two-day total of 44 new cases among children younger than 13.
That’s more than the number of new cases reported among the 65-and-older age group.
“This covid variant, the delta variant, is much more contagious and spreading much more quickly,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “We really want to make sure we’re protecting our young people who don’t have a chance to be vaccinated.”
He said the idea that children who contract covid-19 will have a mild illness is out the window.
“This one’s different,” he said.
In all of July, 25 Allegheny County children age 4 and younger, and 85 children ages 5 to 12, tested positive for covid-19, Bogen said.
In just the first 10 days of August, those numbers have jumped to 67 and 121, respectively.
Bogen cited weekly reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, whose latest numbers indicate that among states reporting data to them, between 0.1% and 1.9% of all child covid cases result in hospitalization. In terms of covid-related deaths in children, it is between 0% and 0.03%.
“Those are low numbers, but as case numbers increase, you’re going to see more children hospitalized and, unfortunately, small, tiny numbers, but children will die from this infection,” Bogen said.
The long-term effects of the virus on children remain unknown, she said. She added there is no way to predict which children will get seriously ill and which children will experience a mild illness.
“If it’s your child who gets seriously ill, that’s really scary,” Bogen said.
Cases have surged among all age groups, not just children. The daily average case counts in the county are more than 150, and the positivity rate — which hovered around 1% for most of June — is now about 5%, Bogen said.
Megan Guza is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Megan at 412-380-8519, [email protected] or via Twitter .