ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — The Children’s Hospital Association and American Academy of Pediatrics want President Joe Biden to declare an emergency in response to alarming numbers of children hospitalized with respiratory syncytial virus and flu this season.
In a letter, the organizations stated an emergency declaration would allow more flexibility to respond during the surge. The Health and Human Services Department reports more than 75% of pediatric hospital beds are occupied across the country due to respiratory viruses.
8 On Your Side interviewed Dr. Juan Dumois, a Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, to learn what local hospitals are seeing.
“They had been stable over the last couple of weeks, and they are lower than they were a month or a month in a half ago, so we are not seeing anything like the spike or the surge of RSV cases that they’re seeing up north,” Dr. Dumois said.
At the Johns Hopkins emergency room, 34 children were diagnosed with RSV last week and eight were hospitalized. Dr. Dumois shared the Tampa Bay area saw more RSV cases in the summer and early fall.
“Over the last six months, enough children here in the Tampa Bay area have become infected with RSV to develop immunity so now there aren’t as many kids who are susceptible to it.”