Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
Children and COVID has been a major topic of interest and in this week’s video, I am pleased to welcome an expert source – Dr. Catherine Gordon, chair of pediatrics at Baylor and pediatrician-in-chief at Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Gordon answers the questions I have been receiving on issues involving children. I thank her again for joining me “on the set” this week.
Almost 8 million children have had COVID in the United States, or 17.4 percent of all cases. Children under age 18 make up 22 percent of the U.S. population. There has been a significant increase in cases in the past several weeks. The good news is children account for fewer hospitalizations and less than 1 percent of the deaths.
The numbers for the U.S. and the world are interesting. In some places, following a surge, the cases are falling significantly. According to predictions from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, it looks like we are peaking now. Hopefully, we will see a reduction in the number of cases in the next month. The numbers in our local area are surging so we are eager for a downturn.
There are a few interesting studies that I go over this week, including one from the UK that indicates the top five symptoms of Omicron compared to Delta. For Omicron the top symptoms are runny nose, headache, fatigue (mild or severe), sneezing and sore throat. Loss of smell and taste is much less common. It had been in the top 10 symptoms last year, but is now ranking at No. 17, with only one in five people experiencing it. While Omicron may feel more like a cold, it can still hospitalize, leave people with long-term symptoms, and ultimately cause death.
In other words, it is to be taken very seriously.
On Monday, the College will be closed in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Day. I encourage you to take some time to recognize the work of Dr. King and his vision of inclusion and respect for all. These are important values for the Baylor College of Medicine community.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President & CEO