Doctor Sounds the Alarm, Says He’s ‘Never Seen This Level of Surge’ in Illness Among Young Children

As fall continues and winter is on its way, a surge in respiratory illnesses is already underway among children, and hospitals are starting to fill up quickly.

Throughout 33 states, there are reports of a rapid rise in respiratory syncytial virus, CBS News reported.

“It’s going to be a rough winter. I mean, we’re already seeing our numbers spike over the last few weeks with over 550 E.R. visits per day,” Dr. Daniel Guzman of Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, told CBS.

Meanwhile, Dr. Juan Salazar, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, said that this surge was unlike anything he has seen in his career.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time, I’ve been at Connecticut Children’s for 25 years, and I have never seen this level of surge — specifically of RSV — coming into our hospital,” he told CNN.

Salazar noted that part of the RSV surge among children is likely due to the fact that parts of the U.S. are still coming out of COVID restrictions and children have not had much exposure to other viruses, CNN reported.

“I think for the next four to eight weeks, we just have to be careful,” Salazar said.

“When everyone stayed home in 2020 and 2021 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it seemed to change the typical RSV season. Case counts were low, and that created an ‘immunity gap,'” CNN noted.

RSV is similar to the common cold but is accompanied by more serious respiratory problems, CBS reported.

It can become serious and Salazar said that he is seeing an “unprecedented” level of children come to the hospital and many need intensive care and even oxygen therapy for their cases of RSV, CNN reported.

Due to the pressure and increasing number of RSV cases, Dr. John Brancato at Connecticut Children’s Hospital told CBS that the hospital was considering putting a tent outside the hospital to handle the number of new patients.

“We’re having patients in hall beds. We’re using our orthopedic room. We’re using other treatment rooms as much as possible to take care of everybody,” Brancato said.

Things have gotten chaotic enough in Connecticut that the state has considered calling out the National Guard, CBS added.

Other places, like Michigan, are also experiencing the surge, CNN reported.

“We are very full, and our census numbers are pretty high as we work through kind of figuring out how to accommodate all of the sick kiddos in the community,” Dr. Mallory Davis, an infection preventionist in Grand Rapids at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, told CNN.

There is no vaccine for RSV, but now with this significant and even overwhelming spike in cases, pharmaceutical companies are working to develop one, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Doctors are also preparing for the RSV spike to overlap with flu season, The Journal reported.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.