Children being hit hard with Omicron variant, experts say

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:08 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The next wave of COVID-19 surges across the nation and Mississippi, and there’s one age group it’s hitting at an alarming rate.

“We are seeing huge outbreaks in the pediatric population with the Omicron variant,” said Hattiesburg Clinic Pediatrician and American Academy of Pediatrics MS Chapter President, Anita Henderson, M.D.

The latest numbers from the Mississippi State Department of Health reveal nearly 6,600 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported. Out of those, officials say a huge number are pediatric cases.

“In my clinic, our positivity rate is actually above 20% right now which is the highest it’s been in quite some time...,” Henderson said. “Nationally, about 17-20% of all cases are in the pediatric population.”

According to doctors with Hattiesburg Clinic, among pediatric cases, the Omicron variant is hitting younger children the hardest.

“We are seeing more cases in the five and under age range because that age range, in particular, has not had the chance to be vaccinated,” Henderson said. “We’re seeing it spread in preschools in that younger age.”

Pediatricians say there are certain symptoms to look out for that may indicate a child needs extra medical care.

“Definitely if your child is having any symptoms of shortness of breath... we need to evaluate that child,” Henderson said. “If your child is having prolonged fevers, lethargy, not eating or drinking well enough to stay hydrated, we need to check that child as well.”

Henderson adds parents should bring their child in if he or she develops a high fever or a rash four to six weeks after recovering from COVID.

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