A record number of children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan this week as the state grapples with a spike in the virus.
Statewide, 70 children were hospitalized between Monday and Thursday with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
Officials blame the increase in hospital admissions for the British coronavirus variant, also known as B.1.1.7, which is more transmissible and appears to be spreading more quickly among young people.
It is not clear why the variant has taken hold so strongly in Michigan.
Health experts said most children hospitalized are likely to survive.
“The vast majority will recover because we learned a lot about dealing with these children during this pandemic,” said Dr. Bishara Freij. NBC News.
A record number of children have been hospitalized with COVID-19 in Michigan this week, data shows. Emergency nurses are seen in Michigan
Statewide, 70 children were hospitalized this week with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Michelle Elkhoury’s daughters Juliana (center) were among the children severely affected by complications from COVID-19
About 10 children or teens have died of the disease in Michigan since the pandemic hit the US last year.
In some Michigan hospitals, children have suffered from multi-system inflammation syndrome, a rare and dangerous complication of the coronavirus.
Michelle Elkhoury said her daughter was suffering from the complication.
She told NBC that her four-year-old daughter Juliana spent nearly a week at Beaumont Children’s in March after inflammatory syndrome attacked her organs.
“It was probably the worst week of our life as parents. We were in the hospital and we didn’t know what was going to happen, ” Elkhoury told the news outlet.
Juliana is said to have developed a high fever, bloodshot eyes and a rash.
The daily file count in Michigan has been leading the US for weeks. Nearly 9,000 cases and 40 deaths were added last Friday.
But Wednesday, the seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases had dropped by more than 1,200 in a week, a sign that the outbreak in the state may be on the wane.
More than 2.6 million people in Michigan have been vaccinated, but more than a quarter of the state’s vaccine supply was still unused Thursday morning.
According to a DailyMail.com analysis of Michigan health department data, the increase in the proportion of Michigan’s population starting vaccination (gray) since last week was 83 percent smaller than last week’s increase.
The state health service reported nearly 5,600 cases and 45 deaths in the most recent 24-hour period. That brought the case’s seven-day average to 5,742 – down from its third peak of about 7,000 on April 13.
The seven-day average of the tests that came back positive, 13.4 percent, was lower than 15.5 percent a week earlier.
About 46 percent of residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, including 31 percent that have been fully vaccinated. That equates to vaccinating more than 2.6 million Michigan residents.
Earlier this week, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also confirmed that her state may be seeing a drop in infections.
Whitmer has issued a pandemic injunction limiting company capacity and requiring masks in public, but the Democrat has avoided further restrictions in place during past peaks, including suspending dining at a restaurant.
Whitmer has pushed for a voluntary break from activities like dining out and pushed for more vaccinations from the White House, which said it would help with other logistics but continues to allocate based on population.
In Michigan, more than 18,100 people have died with confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19. Nearly 900,000 confirmed or probable infections have been reported.
Since the pandemic began last year, more than 31.9 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the US
Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospital admissions among older Americans have fallen by more than 70 percent since the beginning of the year, and deaths among them appear to have dropped as well, dramatic evidence that the vaccination campaign is working.
Now the trick is to get more of the country’s younger people up their sleeves.
The drop in severe cases among Americans 65 and older is especially encouraging as seniors are responsible for about 8 out of 10 deaths from the virus since it hit the US, where the toll is about 570,000.
The number of COVID-19 deaths among people of all ages in the US has dropped to an average of about 700 per day, compared to a peak of more than 3,400 in mid-January.
“What you see there is exactly what we hoped and wanted to see: As really high vaccinations happen, hospital admissions and death rates go down,” said Jodie Guest, a public health researcher at Emory University.
The best available data suggests that COVID-19 deaths among Americans 65 and older have decreased by more than 50 percent since their peak in January. The picture is not entirely clear because the most recent data on deaths by age from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is incomplete and subject to revision.
But the US faces challenges in conducting mass vaccinations due to its much greater size, diversity, geography, and health disparities.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced new federal funding for small businesses so workers can take paid time off to get vaccinated or recover from the side effects of the shot.
The challenge will be to quickly vaccinate younger Americans who feel they are less vulnerable to the coronavirus, but are primarily the ones who are spreading the disease.