Local doctors breaks down the three categories of children in hospitals with COVID-19

Posted at 6:10 AM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 11:04:14-05

(WXYZ) — It's been two months since children ages five to eleven were cleared for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Since December 19, only 19% of Michigan children in that age group have been fully vaccinated.

Doctor Bishara Freij, Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Beaumont Children Hospital says there's not a day that goes by where he and his team are not treating a child severely sick with COVID.

"It really breaks my heart because I look at these kids and I think, these kids should not be in this ICU bed," Dr. Freij said.

Studies show that most kids who get sick with COVID will not need medical intervention. Doctor Freij says only two percent will go to the hospital or urgent care.

But, there are three categories of patients he says he sees consistently.

  1. Young teenagers with severe acute COVID who are typically overweight and have respiratory failure.
  2. Children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome where kids will either have mild or no symptoms initially, but 2-4 weeks after exposure they develop a high fever paired with vomiting or diarrhea and an inflamed heart.
  3. Children at the hospital for another reason who test positive for COVID.

Kristian Whisby's 9-year-old son had COVID last year. Whisby described it as terrifying. At that time the vaccine was not available for children.

"We had several 911 calls. Shortness of breath. He couldn't breathe. Vomiting. Couldn't keep any food down. Vomiting. High fever body aches," she said.

It took months for him to recover, and now Whisby's entire household is vaccinated and is encouraging others to do the same.

"Experiencing COVID in my home, it changes things," she said.

Doctor Freij says it's still unknown why some kids get more sick with COVID than others, adding the best way to protect against it is to get the vaccine.