Leading children’s medical groups have urged the Biden administration to declare a national emergency as children’s hospitals are overwhelmed and pharmacies ran out of an essential antibiotic for children.
Several children’s hospitals have already reached 100 per cent capacity as rates of RSV and flu – both deadly to teenagers – soar to their highest levels in a decade this time of year.
A wave of lockdowns in 2020, along with mitigation measures such as masking and isolation, contributed to an unexpected drop in rates of circulating viruses such as influenza and RSV.
Many people’s immune systems are unprepared for viruses like RSV, meaning infants born within the last two years are likely to be confronted with the pathogen for the first time ever, making them very vulnerable to serious illness.
At the same time, the US suffers from a shortage of the widely used antibiotic amoxicillin, which is commonly prescribed to treat bacterial infections such as pneumonia, respiratory infections and strep throat.
The Children’s Hospital Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have joined forces to urge Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to declare a public health emergency to help struggling hospitals.
Declaring a state of emergency would allow Secretary Becerra to distribute financial support to states, work with companies to manufacture more treatments and supplies, relax licensing requirements to alleviate health care workforce shortages, and expand hospital capacity.
“We ask [President Biden and Secretary Becerra] to renew their commitment to pediatric healthcare and provide us with the resources necessary to control the ongoing RSV and influenza surge with the ongoing mental health emergency in children,’ said Mark Wietecha, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Association.
As hospital admissions due to RSV, flu, Covid or a combination of these continue to rise, parents and their sick children are faced with long waits to get the care they need.
A Chicago-area parent told her online followers that she and her ailing son, who contracted strep throat, RSV and pneumonia, had waited 15 hours for a hospital bed.
Another parent in Pittsburgh, for example, took their daughter to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and had to wait six hours in the emergency room before receiving medical attention.
Pictured left is Ava Blocker, eight weeks old, from North Carolina, who was put on a ventilator for seven days after contracting RSV. Pictured at right is Georgia Vacca, four months old, who was hospitalized with RSV
Hospital admissions among seniors are 10 TIMES higher than usual, while many US children’s hospitals are already operating at full capacity
Paitynn Brand, two months old, (left) was having trouble breathing due to RSV infection. She ended up being flown to a hospital 100 miles from her home. On the right is Asa Ireland who has been struggling to breathe from an RSV infection
Confirmed flu cases reached 13,806 in the week ended November 5, a new high for this season and a strong increase from previous weeks
Confirmed RSV cases reached 12,905 in the week ended October 29, while the positive test rate reached 18.8 percent in the week ended November 5
For the next few weeks at least, the reality of the shortage means parents will have to spend hours on the phone with local pharmacies chasing down doses of the drug. However, some providers expect that the end of the shortage will occur later this month.
Another Chicago-area parent told her online followers that she and her ailing son, who contracted strep throat, RSV and pneumonia, had waited 15 hours for a hospital bed.
Most RSV cases don’t require hospitalization, but when so many cases explode at once, hospitals are overwhelmed. The virus spread at an extraordinary rate about two months ahead of schedule.
Two years without RSV, which is widespread, means millions of young children will be exposed to the pathogen for the first time this year.
A combination of social distancing, masking and distance learning put in place to protect people from Covid-19 has effectively stopped infectious viruses like RSV.
Now that mitigation measures like widespread masking and lockdowns have been dispensed with, RSV has made a roaring comeback.
This recent spike has left some hospitals overwhelmed with cases of respiratory infections. Some facilities, such as Children’s National in Washington DC, have reported occupancy rates approaching 100 percent. Three Southern California hospitals set up outdoor tents to temporarily treat patients during this surge as they neared full capacity.
The move would give Becerra the power to mobilize more resources for states currently grappling with a spate of RSV cases on top of influenza and Covid. He could award state and local government grants and offer important financial assistance.
Becerra would also have an opportunity to tap into the national stockpile of pediatric supplies, such as the much-needed drug amoxicillin, which is becoming increasingly scarce.
Becerra would also be able to waive a provision in the Social Security Act called Section 1335, which the groups argue would give them much-needed flexibility to more quickly care for the many patients coming through emergency room doors .
The CDC reports that 21 states have “high” or “very high” influenza activity and six have moderate activity
A mother shares the nightmarish situation she faced with her son who was diagnosed with RSV, the flu and pneumonia in the ER after being unable to source amoxicillin for a strep infection he had.
Becerra could also sign deals with companies working to contain outbreaks, such as B. Pfizer, which has a promising vaccine candidate for RSV in the works. This authority shot the US Covid at breakneck speed.
A PHE also prohibits states from deleting enrollments in Medicaid, the federal health care program for the very poor that is jointly funded by the federal and state governments.
Expanded eligibility for Medicaid coverage during the Covid pandemic was a boon to approximately 90 million people who enrolled from February 2020 through June 2022.
A Section 1335 exemption would temporarily allow healthcare workers licensed in one state to practice across state lines to fill staffing shortages.
This was a power granted during Covid, addressing dire labor shortages in the earlier stages of the pandemic.
Mark Del Monte, CEO of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said, “We are making this urgent request now because the crisis sweeping across the country requires immediate and comprehensive action by the federal government.
“Paediatricians are once again facing this challenge, but we need federal action to allow the flexibility and resources to support this care.”
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/childrens-health-groups-call-for-biden-administration-to-declare-national-emergency-as-rsv-surges/ Child health groups are urging the Biden administration to declare a national emergency as RSV surges