Surge of child COVID cases leads to rising dangerous inflammatory disease: Live updates

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Surge of child COVID cases leads to rising dangerous inflammatory disease: Live updates

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Although overall child COVID-19 case counts are on their way down in the United States, the January numbers were 3.5 times higher with the omicron var

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Although overall child COVID-19 case counts are on their way down in the United States, the January numbers were 3.5 times higher with the omicron variant than what was seen with the previous delta surge, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics

The increase in cases has resulted in more pediatric hospitalizations and the rise of a dangerous inflammatory disorder called MIS-C, or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children. MISC-C is a condition leading to inflammation in the body affecting organs like the heart and lungs, occurs about four weeks after infection and can cause high fever, rash, and in some children, other serious health outcomes.

It can affect healthy children and one out of every 1,000 kids who contracts COVID will experience MIS-C. 

Dr. John Vanchiere, president of the Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and chief of LSU Health Shreveport’s Department of Pediatrics Infectious Diseases Section, said about 6,000 cases of MIS-C have been documented nationwide. It has also contributed to about 55 documented deaths.

“Their whole immune system is really turned on inappropriately,” Vanchiere said. “That inflammation can have long-term effects on the heart and particularly the coronary arteries. We’re worried about that.”

Vanchiere said MIS-C existed prior to the omicron variant, but the overwhelming surge has increased the frequency of children reporting cases of MIS-C.

Currently, only children age 5 and older can receive a COVID vaccine, but Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are seeking federal authorization to allow children 6 months to 4 years old to receive two COVID-19 shots. The move comes at the request of the Food and Drug Administration, the companies said, and as pediatric COVID-19 cases top 10 million.

Also in the news:

►Federal health officials on Monday classified a dozen countries, including Mexico, as having “very high” COVID-19 risk, warning U.S. travelers to avoid the destinations.

►India Arie and Graham Nash have requested their music be removed from Spotify following Neil Young’s protest over Joe Rogan spreading fake information about vaccines

📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 75 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 890,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 381 million cases and over 5.6 million deaths. More than 211 million Americans — 63.8% — are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

📘 What we’re reading: The national debt surpassed $30 trillion for the first time Tuesday, fueled in part by the coronavirus pandemic and what economists describe as years of unsustainable government spending that could have long-term consequences for every American.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s free Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Missouri health director’s confirmation derailed over his support of COVID-19 vaccine

The process to confirm Missouri’s health director was derailed early this week, as the state Senate ended their work until next Monday due to winter weather without action on a Friday deadline for confirmation.

The events came a day after a hearing dominated by opposition from anti-vaccine protesters and several conservative lawmakers who moved to delay the nomination of Donald Kauerauf, a longtime Illinois health administrator who Gov. Mike Parson appointed in July to lead the Department of Health & Senior Services. Those opposed to his confirmation cited his stance on COVID-19 mandates — which some misrepresented — as their primary concern.

Missouri has not instituted any vaccination mandates or requirements on the state level. Since his appointment last year, Kauerauf has frequently touted the efficacy of vaccines and decried the politicization and misinformation surrounding both the virus and vaccines.

He has repeatedly said he does not support mandates for masking or vaccination, and did so again Monday, saying he “completely disagreed” with past actions at the federal level.

— Galen Bacharier, Springfield News-Leader

Michigan woman pleads guilty to misusing federal COVID funds

A Michigan woman who previously owned a home health agency that was never operational during the pandemic received approximately $37,657 in federal funds designated for the medical treatment and care of COVID-19 patients, the Department of Justice said.

The woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in the Eastern District of Michigan to stealing government funds and using them for her own personal expenses. She previously owned 1 on 1 Home Health in LaPorte, Indiana, which she had closed in early 2020.

The woman was indicted in February of last year in the first criminal charges for the intentional misuse of funds distributed from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund.

— Grace Hauck, USA TODAY

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