DeSantis: Parents Are Told Their Child Is Positive for RSV Rather Than COVID and They Are Relieved
RSV causes 60,000 deaths in children each year
“I can tell you if you look throughout the entire pandemic between 1.1 and 1.4% of COVID positive patients in Florida hospitals have been Pediatrics and right now it’s 1.3%, so you’ve not seen a change in the proportion of the young people who end up being admitted.”
“The one thing I think is different from last year to this year, with respect to Pediatrics is not as much COVID,” but RSV. We’ve had an RSV wave this year we did have very little last year. Florida, I think has peaked on that, but that actually RSVP for young kids I mean that’s much more of a concern than the COVID.”
“COVID, I view as a very minor risk,” DeSantis said. “RSV is a little more serious and it just shows certain things that are focused on versus not. I’ve had doctors tell me that parents have come in with kids who were sick that have gotten a negative COVID test and a positive RSV and the parents were relived at that.”
The governor said that data shows that fewer kids are getting sick with COVID-19 and they are more likely to get respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, than COVID-19.
What is RSV? It’s a virus that kills more children than any other (only malaria kills more but it is not a virus):
RSV is a virus that can cause serious respiratory infections (infections of the lungs and airways), such as pneumonia and bronchiolitis (inflammation of the airways). RSV infection occurs throughout life. In temperate countries like the UK, RSV occurs in epidemics each winter.
In infants, RSV is the main cause of bronchiolitis. Most cases of bronchiolitis are mild and can be managed at home, but about 3% of cases will need hospital care. Worldwide, RSV is the second largest cause of death in children under one year of age (second only to malaria). In 2017 the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that RSV causes around 33 million serious respiratory infections a year. This results in more than 3 million hospitalisations and nearly 60,000 deaths in children under 5 years of age every year. Nearly half of these hospitalisations and deaths are in children under 6 months of age.
In the winter months, bronchiolitis is responsible for around 1 in 6 of all UK paediatric admissions (hospital admissions of babies and children). It is estimated that over 30,000 babies and children under 5 are hospitalised every year in the UK because of RSV (see this research from Public Health England ). 6% of these will need admission to intensive care. Most of these hospital admissions occur in babies who are otherwise healthy. However, babies with certain conditions are more at risk of developing more severe disease after infection (for example, babies born with heart and lung disorders and premature babies). Infants who are hospitalised with severe RSV infection are at an increased risk of developing wheeze later in life. Numbers of hospital admissions due to RSV have increased in the last 20 years. RSV causes the deaths of around 30 babies a year in the UK.
In healthy adults RSV causes symptoms similar to those of a common cold. However, it can develop into severe disease in adults with a weakened immune system (such as bone marrow transplants) and in elderly people.
In New Zealand RSV skyrocketed in July straining the pediatric hospitals there which was said to be due to lockdown “immunity debt”:
New Zealand has reported nearly 1,000 RSV cases in the past five weeks, according to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research. The usual average is 1,743 over the full 29-week winter season. Australia is also experiencing a surge, with overcrowded Victoria hospitals also hit by unusually high rates of RSV.
“If you remove that exposure for a period then you will have a bigger cohort of unexposed children, and therefore – as you can see we have happening at the moment – it can sustain a much bigger outbreak when they are eventually exposed to the virus.”
Is the same story being repeated in the US? (But with the hospital strain blamed on COVID when the real culprit is lockdown-boosted RSV?)