COVID-19 Bringing Children’s Hospitals to the Brink

David Hogberg

As the COVID-19 delta variant sweeps through much of the nation, children’s hospitals are struggling to deal with a flood of young patients — and not just ones stricken with the coronavirus.

Pediatric hospitals say an influx of young patients with respiratory syncytial virus is combining with the surge of COVID-19 to push them to capacity. But in an ironic twist, some experts say the RSV surge may be partly driven by mitigation efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve seen a slight increase in COVID cases, but this is in the background of seeing many more cases of respiratory complaints in children due to viruses other than COVID, such as RSV, rhinovirus, and enterovirus,” said Dr. Sarah Combs, an emergency medicine physician and the emergency department director of outreach at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.