Last week, eight young patients were admitted to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego with COVID-19, but the Medical Director of Infectious Disease at the hospital said local case rates among children are low and not cause for alarm.
“While the numbers are increasing in the community, and we really want them to decrease, those numbers haven't caused a huge increase in hospitalizations for children in San Diego. Our community is doing a pretty good job," Dr. John Bradley, MD said.
Unlike other parts of the country where COVID-19 cases in children are escalating, Dr. Bradley attributes the low rates in San Diego to the high number of adults who’ve been vaccinated.
To date, 72% of eligible San Diegans are now fully vaccinated.
“If there's widespread COVID in the adult community, we will be seeing it in children as we are now. So if we get more of the adults vaccinated, then they'll be less of a source of COVID to infect children,” Bradley said.
Among the eight admitted to Rady Children’s last week, none developed serious symptoms and left the hospital within a day. One of the patients was 2 years old, but most were over 12. The hospital accepts patients up to 20 years old.
But with school having started or soon to begin in many districts, there is concern that rates among children could escalate.
Dr. Bradley said the solution is face masks, and he's a strong advocate of face masks in school.
“If they wear masks, any child with even mild symptomatic disease, or asymptomatic disease, will not be able to spread it. And if they can't spread it to other children, those kids can't take it home and infect their parents, their grandparents,” said Bradley.
Bradley is well aware of the "Let Them Breathe" movement and parents who reject the effectiveness of masks.
“I'm sorry. The science is really clear and everyone who studied this prospectively and in an appropriate scientific way comes to the same conclusion. Masks work. They're not 100%, and kids will be taking off their mask. I mean, they're not 100, but they work, they don't cause disease. They're safe,” said Bradley.
“I actually don't understand why these people don't think that masks aren't safe and they're not protecting us from more spread of COVID in the community,” he added.