The number of children hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 has reached a record high of nearly 2,000 in the U.S. as hospitals across the country are filling up and limiting who can be admitted.
As Reuters reported, just more than 1,900 children are currently hospitalized, making up 2.4 percent of all hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the U.S. as the latest surge in cases brought on by the delta variant spreads.
According to Reuters, the number of COVID-19 patients aged 18 to 29, 30 to 39 and 40 to 49 also reached record level highs last week.
Health experts are still unsure if the delta variant causes a more severe illness among children, but many have said that as long as more cases are seen, more hospitalizations and deaths will result.
Children under the age of 12 are still ineligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and concerns have been raised about school safety as the new academic year begins.
Last week, the largest teachers union in the country, the National Education Association (NEA), endorsed a policy for mandatory vaccines or testing for school teachers.
School boards across the country have begun implementing mask mandates for their students and teachers, with some having to defy their state governments in doing so. School board officials who spoke to The Hill said they had no regrets in supporting mask mandates, even though some face financial repercussions.
State such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oregon all reported a record number of COVID-19 hospitalizations this month, Reuters noted.
“While kids have been more resistant, and that’s good news, they’re not immortal around this,” Children’s Hospital Association CEO Mark Wietecha told The Hill. “We’ve had plenty of kids die, and we’ve had plenty of kids be impacted. And we just encourage parents to be as diligent as possible.”
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 72 percent of adults in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Roughly 51 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated.