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Phoenix Children's specialist weighs in as hospital deals with more kids on ventilators, in ICU

Child covid hospital
Posted at 4:24 AM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 17:37:16-04

PHOENIX — A Valley medical expert is weighing in on what could be leading to more children being hospitalized for COVID-19 as our state continues to see high case numbers reported each day.

"It is very concerning because I think throughout the pandemic, the message has been, children don't get as sick from this as adults and that it's not as crucial to protect them from this as older adults. But I think the reverse may be true now," explains Dr. Joseph Nania, an infectious disease specialist at Phoenix Children's.

Virus Outbreak Arizona
Phoenix Children's Hospital joins buildings and structures around the state will be lit blue as a symbol of support for Arizona's frontline medical workers and emergency responders battling the coronavirus, including statements of support in English and Spanish in the windows at the hospital Wednesday, April 15, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

It's a tough reality in an ever-changing pandemic.

Once thought to be somewhat protected from COVID-19, hospitals across the country, including Phoenix Children's, are reporting more and more kids are being admitted due to the coronavirus.

RELATED: 71 kids admitted to hospital in July, double the number admitted in June, Banner officials say

PCH did not release exact numbers to us.

Nick: You're seeing more children on ventilators right now, more children being admitted to the hospital, and more children in the ICU?
Dr. Nania: Yes, that is correct. All of those things are true.

Dr. Nania says it could be because of two possible factors: no approved vaccine for kids under 12 years old, and the emergence of the delta variant.

"Most of the children we are seeing on ventilators are older children, teenagers, who could have gotten the vaccine," he explains. "Some parents were unaware that they could have or didn't know that they should. These parents are very regretful...I have many families in the ICU with their children intubated, meaning on a ventilator, saying they wish they would have gotten vaccinated and they wish they would have gotten their children vaccinated. And the remaining family members are getting vaccinated because of their experience."