Lexington health experts say more kids are getting COVID, possible spike ahead

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Health experts in Lexington talked Thursday about the rising number of kids getting coronavirus.

They said it’s a problem only expected to get worse as the fall approaches.

“This is by and large a preventable illness – a preventable complication,” Dr. Sean McTigue, with Kentucky Children’s Hospital, said.

McTigue said eight of the ten kids who’ve come in with severe COVID since the pandemic started have been over 12 years old, meaning they could have been vaccinated. He said four of the ten cases were in the last two weeks; with such a quick spike, he’s worried about what’s next.

“It’s the unimmunized that’s making up the majority of admissions to hospitals – the majority of all severe cases in the ICU,” McTigue said.

He said he’s also seen an increase in asymptomatic cases, and a jump in the number of kids with an inflammatory syndrome after the virus had passed.

However, McTigue said it’s important to be honest with parents and let them know that most kids won’t have a severe reaction to the virus, but he says he doesn’t want parents to wait until it’s too late.

“For any child, the risk is certainly not zero, and when there’s something very easy, safe and effective to protect them, like to get them immunized, I think it makes a lot of sense for them to do so,” McTigue said.

He added he’s also concerned about a possible capacity issue in the future. McTigue said it’s not normal to see so many kids with upper respiratory infections, like RSV, in the summer.

“We essentially have a generation of children who was largely isolated from each other and did not have close contact with each other in the fall and winter seasons when we see RSV typically circulating,” McTigue said.

Doctor George Fuchs is heading up the University of Kentucky’s vaccine trial for kids, which is currently accepting 6 to 12-year-olds. Researchers are using the moderna vaccine.

Fuchs says several parents are interested.

“We’re very excited about it,” Fushs said.

He said the moderna vaccine might be approved for kids in January.

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