2 children die of COVID-19 in 24 hours at Jacksonville hospital
Head of Wolfson Children’s Hospital Pediatric ICU says 1 of the kids was as young as 2 weeks old
During a town hall discussion Wednesday night, the head of Wolfson Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric ICU made a heartbreaking announcement, saying that in the last 24 hours two children at the hospital had died of COVID-19 complications — one as young as 2 weeks old.
Dr. Michael Gayle did not say how long the children who died had been hospitalized. He also did not indicate the age of the second child.
“Yes, children will get less problems with COVID, but they do get severe conditions, and we will see more and more of those in the intensive care unit,” Gayle said during the webinar Wednesday night hosted by Pastor John Newman of the Sanctuary at Mount Calvary Church.
Gayle said during the recent surge ignited by the delta variant, double the number of children have been hospitalized.
“As I speak to you today, we are averaging about five to six children in intensive care with respiratory failure, kidney failure, and also we have seen some more PMIC,” Gayle said.
The conversation addressed the rising cases of COVID-19 in children, the confusion over COVID symptoms and fighting misinformation.
Gayle pointed out that even children over the age to be vaccinated are ending up in the hospital.
“We have so many kids that will be 12 and they can be vaccinated, and they, unfortunately, have severe pneumonia, and in many cases, parents are against vaccination so definitely, I would like the audience to know that even though kids are getting COVID less percentage-wise, but with the increase in the kids going back to school. Some places that do not have mask mandates, many have been exposed to COVID, and we’re seeing more kids having severe organ failure,” Gayle said.
As of Tuesday, 230 children were in Florida hospitals with COVID, and 72 new pediatric patients were admitted Tuesday — a record for the pandemic. As of Wednesday, 21 children were hospitalized at Wolfson with COVID, with five in the ICU. Baptist Health reported nine children were admitted for COVID-19 at its hospitals on Aug. 31.
The top doctors in Jacksonville who are working on the front lines fighting COVID-19 got together virtually during the town hall to address the many issues surrounding the delta variant, especially the effect on the Black community.
“This is an extremely important time in the African American Community. Thirteen percent of the country, yet we wind up being 25% of the COVID deaths,” Newman said. “And so without question it is critical that our community be addressed as it relates to the COVID situation, particularly the delta variant.”
Dr. Tra’Chella Johnson Foy is with Baptist Health. She says she meets many patients who regret not getting vaccinated.
“I have a lot of criers now who are like, ‘I wish I had.’ And that’s what we want to avoid,” Johnson Foy said. “If you can do what you can do now, go ahead and get vaccinated now so we are not having the ‘I wish I had’ conversation for you or any of your loved ones.”
Tom Diamond II is a medical student who spoke at the town hall. He spoke about the harm not only of the virus, but misinformation being online.
“As a community, we are not only having to face the effects of COVID in the physical form, but we are also facing the misinformation on social media,” Diamond said. “We get our information so fast in our hands on our phones, and it’s hard for people who know the science, who know the correct information that can help patients to combat what’s happening on social media in real time to what’s actually happening in the real world.”
The doctors discussed how angry and frustrated they are knowing that many deaths caused by the delta variant are preventable.
Florida reported 19,048 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday — the highest in four days, according to numbers posted Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Florida has had nearly 3.27 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started in early 2020.