Children are being infected with up to three different viruses at the same time after widespread COVID-19 lockdowns gutted their immune systems, doctors have warned.
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut has reported staggering numbers of young patients with adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human metapneumovirus, influenza and parainfluenza – in addition to COVID -19, reported the Washington Post.
Some children have been admitted with two viruses and a few with three simultaneously, according to Thomas Murray, an infection control expert and associate professor of pediatrics at Yale.
“It’s not typical any time of the year and certainly not typical in May and June,” Murray told The Washington Post.
A slight increase in flu cases and severe colds throughout the winter months is expected, but experts say the hot summer months do not see the same decline in illnesses as in previous years.
While data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows lower overall levels of flu infections in young children, there has been a significant increase in recent weeks, despite warmer weather.
Doctors believe this could be a direct result of the strict pandemic regulations the world experienced in 2020 and 2021 – as we haven’t had a chance to develop immunity to common viruses through exposure.
“All of these decisions have consequences,” Murray told The Washington Post.
“It’s a massive natural experiment,” added Michael Mina, epidemiologist and scientific director of digital health platform eMed.
Additionally, medical professionals told the Washington Post that they fear certain viruses could multiply in children because they missed primary care throughout the pandemic, as well as non-COVID vaccinations. -19.
“We’ve never seen a flu season in the United States extend into June,” Dr. Scott Roberts, another Yale medical expert, told CNBC last week. “COVID has clearly had a very big impact on that.”
“Now that people have unmasked, places are opening up, we are seeing viruses behaving in very strange ways that they weren’t before,” he added.
Yearly trends show that RSV normally slows down during the warmer months, much like the flu, but this year no such trend was detected.
Other conditions, such as monkey pox and tuberculosis, have slipped in recent weeks due to increased focus on COVID-19 prevention.
“When you have a lot of people who don’t have immunity, the impact of the season is less. It’s like an open field,” Mina said, adding that the virus can “overcome seasonal barriers” that way. .