Inside a San Antonio Hospital, Children Battle for Breath
The Delta variant is causing a new wave of cases nationwide, pushing the daily total to the highest level since February, as the virus spreads among the unvaccinated. In Texas, the number of new cases has more than doubled in the past two weeks. Hospitals are overwhelmed and there is a disturbing new increase in young patients: some 240 across the state.
“We are now entering a new phase where our volumes are growing much more exponentially here, as well as on the adult side,” said Dr Norman Christopher, Chief Medical Officer at San Antonio Children’s Hospital. “And that’s compared to almost no one just a few months ago.”
Dr Abhishek Patel, who works in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, entered and exited a room where a 6-month-old and a 2-month-old struggled with severe Covid infections, breathing using supplemental oxygen. Just this week, he said, two teenagers, who had other underlying health issues, died from the virus.
“We didn’t see this last year,” Dr Patel said.
The growing number of cases in children has prevented Jennifer Gantt, 45, from bringing her 6-year-old son Christopher, who has a rare brain disease, to the hospital even after he started having severe seizures. A nurse inserted a swab to test him for the virus as the boy writhed in his bed.
“I was reluctant to bring her here, due to the Covid situation,” Ms. Gantt said. The emergency room was full of children coughing behind their masks and worried parents in tears. “I didn’t want to risk him getting infected. But eventually I knew I had to bring him here.
Less than an hour later, she received news that not all parents hear at the children’s hospital. Christopher had tested negative.
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