NIH Director: Some Evidence Child Hospitalizations Increasing And Kids 'More Seriously Ill,' But U.S. Lacking 'Rigorous Data'

ToplineDr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told ABC News that he was alerted by pediatricians to the fact that children are being admitted at a higher rate with more severe illnesses during the latest coronavirus outbreak in America.Dr. Francis Collins is the director of National Institutes of Health. Getty ImagesThe Key FactsCollins' comments on ABC News This Week are in response to a dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases in children. Collins also noted reports of increasing hospitalizations in at most eight states. Collins stated that he cannot confirm this trend is occurring nationwide. Collins stated that the U.S. doesn't have enough data to determine if the delta variant is more severe for children. Collins also pointed out that studies in Canada and Scotland showed that people with the delta variant are more likely than others to be admitted to hospital. Research from Singapore has shown that they are more likely need oxygen.ContraThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and vaccine manufacturers have data that vaccines still work well in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and deaths in vaccinated individuals.Important QuoteCollins stated Sunday that there are no concerns among health officials about vaccines not being able to protect against Covid-19 variants. He stated that the best way to stop that happening is to reduce infection rates. This was in response to Dr. Anthony Fauci's recent concerns that future virus mutations might be able to bypass vaccines.Important BackgroundOver the past week, child hospitalizations in eight states have increased either in their entirety or in major pediatric facilities. A handful of Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida reported new records regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. These states are mainly located in the Southern U.S. and the increase in child hospitalizations may be due to an increased incidence of respiratory syncytialvirus (RSV) in these states. This contagious seasonal virus is more prevalent in wintertime. Experts believe that RSV infections tend to increase during winter flu season. However, Covid-19 prevention has delayed normal RSV seasons. While RSV was reported at historically low levels in the United States, there were strict safety precautions. However, people are now more open to the pathogens that didn't spread as quickly in the pandemic.TangentThe risk of hospitalization and death among children with Covid-19 is still low. Since the outbreak, Covid-19 has claimed the lives of just over 520 children (0.08% of the total U.S. deaths), and around 0.01% of all cases have resulted in death. The CDC emphasizes that severe diseases can still be fatal for children, as they occur in all ages.What to WatchThis current trend is being exacerbated by a significant increase in the number children who have contracted Covid-19. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), released a report last Tuesday that showed nearly 72,000 cases among children between July 22 and 29. This is an increase of 39,000 cases the week before. It also represents about 19% of all national cases during that time. According to AAP, cases have increased fivefold from June's end.Continue readingThe number of covid cases among children jumped 84% last week. Here are some places where kid hospitalizations are increasing (Forbes).Hospitals in the Southern United States Report Record Numbers of Children Hospitalized During Delta SurgeThough Deaths are Still Extremely Rare (Forbes).Live updates and coverage of the Coronavirus