Miss. health officials concerned by rise in COVID cases among children

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi health leaders are worried more children will get sick with COVID-19 as the school year progresses.

The Mississippi Department of Health said there are 24 children in hospitals state-wide.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs is concerned we might see even more cases because about 1,000 students tested positive for COVID-19 the first week of school.

“I kind of personally feel like an air traffic controller, and every day I’m watching two airliners collide, and I’m constantly wanting to change course, and we never do. It’s really distressing to see what’s going on,” said Dr. Dobbs.

Health Department data shows 24 children are in the hospital, with six children in the ICU and four on life support.

Dr. Dobbs and other health leaders are worried this could increase because of three factors: the more contagious Delta variant, unvaccinated students and teachers, and people are not wearing masks.

“It’s really concerning,” said Dr. Manoj Jain. “We are seeing so many young people so sick. They usually bounce back pretty quickly, but now they are critically ill in the hospital for weeks.”

Dr. Jain is an infectious disease specialist at Baptist-Desoto Hospital and a member of the COVID-19 Task Force.

He said children under the age of 12 are more at risk because they can’t get vaccinated.

Dr. Jain believes the solution is simple: mask up and get the shot if you are eligible.

“I mean, it’s really scary when we see so many young people so, so sick,” said Dr. Jain.