According to The Atlantic, COVID-19 is spreading catastrophically in Arkansas — and unlike past outbreaks, this one is attacking children aggressively.
"In recent weeks, Arkansas Children's — the only pediatric hospital system in Arkansas, where vaccine uptake has been especially sluggish — has admitted far more children than at any other point in the pandemic," writes reporter Katherine Wu.
Jessica Snowden, Arkansas Children's chief of pediatric infectious disease, tells Wu that she's now seeing roughly three times as many children at a time in her hospital and all of them are unvaccinated.
COVID-19 has primarily been an illness of the elderly, with kids less likely to become seriously ill. But the newer Delta variant, which is driving the current resurgence, is also more dangerous to children — in large part simply because it is more dangerous to everyone.
"Many of Arkansas Children's new COVID-19 patients are also much more ill than before," said the report. "They're coming in with wrecked lungs, struggling to breathe; they're not bouncing back with typical youthful resilience, despite having been very healthy before ... It's become common for more than half of the kids in the ICU to be on ventilators. A few have been in the hospital for more than a month."
The South has seen the worst surge as the new wave of the virus has hit. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, has admitted that it was a mistake to sign a bill banning mask mandates in schools, although the legislature has not yet acted to repeal it.
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