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Dell Children's sees unusual trend of kids infected with COVID-19, other viruses at the same time

Dr. Iyer said that, nationwide, about 80% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 are also infected with another illness.

AUSTIN, Texas — During this COVID-19 surge, pediatricians are seeing an unusual trend of patients being infected with COVID-19 and a typical winter virus like the flu at the same time.

"In pediatrics, very rarely you have two or three illnesses happening at the same time," said Dell Children's Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meena Iyer. 

But that speaks to the infectiousness of the omicron variant.

"They're not having just COVID-19; they have RSV, they have human metapneumovirus virus, they have rhinovirus," said Dr. Iyer. "They have these other infections along with COVID."

Dr. Iyer said that, nationwide, about 80% of children hospitalized with COVID-19 are also infected with another illness.

Dr. Iyer said last week at Dell Children's Medical Center, about 40% of their COVID-19 patients were co-infections. This week it dropped to about 10% to 15%, and almost all of them are in the ICU.

"It does make them sicker and then takes longer for them to recover, right, because you have two or three viruses attacking you at the same time," said Dr. Iyer.

She said most of their children with COVID-19 are admitted for something else. 

"It's mostly deaths from the co-infection that happens when there's respiratory failure or something, but we have not any deaths from COVID," she said.

Thankfully, they haven't seen any child deaths from COVID-19, but more kids are getting sick.

"The variant is more contagious," said Dr. Iyer. "It causes more of infection in the upper airways, but people are less sicker." 

That's in line with what we are seeing statewide in Texas. As of Tuesday, 397 children are in hospitals with COVID-19, just shy from the record of 400 set on Friday.

Dr. Iyer recommends getting your children vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu to keep symptoms mild if they are infected and keep them in class. 

"They still need that, you know, working with each other and avoiding social isolation because that has caused such a huge mental stress on kids, leading to suicidal ideations and depression," said Dr. Iyer.

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