Not so mild? Hospitalizations exploding among Utah infants, children with COVID-19′s omicron strain

The Utah House has followed the Senate in overruling Salt Lake County’s mask mandate. We’re disappointed that lawmakers seem to be so blinded by their ideology that they are willing to overlook science. This decision forces public health policy upon the entire state that is contrary to the advice and pleading of every credible medical expert. And the consequences are heartbreaking.

There is an explosion of COVID Omicron cases among the pediatric population. It appears that the primary reason children are more susceptible to Omicron is that it is more often a disease of the upper airways, much like croup ((laryngotracheobronchitis). Because children have smaller caliber airways, once they become inflamed and full of secretions, they have much greater airflow resistance, creating much more difficulty breathing than do adults. Omicron may be usually mild in adults because it is less destructive to the lungs, but for infants and children it’s completely different.

A powerful article in the Salt Lake Tribune follows the story of a Utah 3 year old, currently in the ICU, sedated and on a ventilator due to COVID. The article expresses concern over hospital capacity, stating “Primary Children’s Hospital, like other hospitals in Utah, has been postponing some surgeries due to overcrowding, in part because of an influx in COVID-19 patients and in part because so many hospital employees have been calling in sick as the virus infects record numbers of Utahns.”

We stand with the family of the featured child in urging the public to follow the science- get vaccinated, and wear a mask.

Read the family’s story here.