- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The story of a toddler in Illinois has become a chilling reminder that Covid is no longer sparing children.
Mount Vernon mother Tiffany Jackson says her two-year-old son, Adrian James, came down with a mild cough a few weeks ago. That cough turned into a severe case of Covid-19, requiring two weeks at a hospital and five days on a ventilator.
“At one point I honestly did not know whether he was going to make it or not because it took him so long to show signs of improvement,” Ms Jackson told Good Morning America. “I was so scared.”
After being treated for pneumonia and other complications of the virus, Adrian was finally discharged on Monday from SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. His mother says he is recovering well, but is still baffled over how he contracted such a severe case of the disease.
“I honestly have no idea where he got it,” Ms Jackson told GMA. “It was a surprise to me that he could be so young and get so sick.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, children appeared to be mysteriously safe from Covid’s worst symptoms. But now, as the new Delta variant continues to spread, experts say that’s no longer the case.
“Early on we weren’t seeing significant infections in kids under two, but we now have infants in our hospital with significant disease,” Dr Marya Strand, chief medical officer at Cardinal Glennon, told GMA.
From July to September, Covid cases among children in the United States jumped by 240 per cent. In the first week of October, Americans under 18 made up about a quarter of all cases in the country, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
So far, no Covid vaccine has been authorised in the US for children under 12 years old – although later this month, the Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to clear the Pfizer shot for kids aged 5-11.
In the meantime, experts say the best way to protect children is for the adults in their community to get vaccinated.
“What is clear from these data is community-level vaccination coverage protects our children,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last month. “As the number of Covid-19 cases increase in the community, the number of children getting sick, presenting to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital will also increase.”
Meanwhile, Ms Jackson, grateful to have her son back, has a warning for other parents.
“I just want people to realize it is serious,” she told Reuters.