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RSV cases rising among kids, national health experts urge masks in schools

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(KWWL) -- Doctors around the country are seeing a summertime increase in cases of RSV and Croup.

RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, is more common in children and can be serious the younger they are. On July 10th, the Centers for Disease Control put out a health alert for high cases of RSV in southern states. Dr. Daniel Wright with MercyOne Waterloo Pediatrics says while most cases are mild, the Cedar Valley is seeing an increase as well.

"Usually this is a quieter time of year and I've been pretty much full schedule the last 3-4 days," Wright said. "We're seeing the winter infections in the middle of the summer, and that's not normal."

Regardless of age, respiratory illnesses are more common in the winter months. Wright suggests parents listen to their children, specifically their coughs.

"The thing that you'd look for most with RSV is it's not only respiratory illness. It's going to have the runny nose and the cough, but it tends to have a really tight sounding cough as well as quite a bit of repetitive cough," Dr. Wright said.

MORE: Coughing Child? 3 Coughs to Know

He and other doctors believe a delayed onset of the winter infections is due to mask-wearing in the winter.

On Tuesday, Blank's Children Hospital in Des Moines told tv station KCCI that they'd been at or close to capacity for weeks due to the rise in respiratory cases among children.

Most kids are roughly 5 weeks out from returning to classrooms across the US. On Monday, The American Academy of Pediatrics urged schools to require masks this fall when kids come back. They also say 16% of new COVID-19 cases are among children with more than 23,000 reported between July 8th and July 15th. Kids under the age of 12 are still not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine and it will likely be months before they can.

"I think we fall into this flawed thinking of saying that only 400 of these 600,000 deaths from Covid-19 have been in children," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing. "Children are not supposed to die. And so, 400 is a huge amount for respiratory season."

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Taylor Vessel

Multimedia Reporter

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