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More infants and younger children are getting COVID-19, doctors say, thanks to BA.5 omicron subvariant

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Posted at 6:49 AM, Jul 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 07:40:37-04

TAMPA — COVID-19’s omicron subvariant, BA.5, continues to spread across the country.

“It’s by far the most contagious version so far,” said Dr. David Berger, Board Certified Pediatrician for Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care.

The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show BA.5 now makes up at least 81.9% of new COVID-19 infections.

Due to the fact that BA.5 is so contagious, doctors are seeing more babies and toddlers getting infected.

According to the latest report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, 91,932 child COVID-19 cases were reported last week.

“They’re catching it,” said Berger.

To help limit that spread right now, aside from vaccinations, doctors said testing is important.

If your child does test positive, experts believe BA.5 has a few different symptoms.

“The most common things that we’re seeing are runny nose, sore throat, that’s kind of becoming a more prominent thing and some fatigue,” said Berger.

In general, according to health officials, infants and children don’t typically get severe symptoms, but they still want parents to be aware of the signs just in case.

“So breathing problems would be certainly one of them. Signs of respiratory distress would be things such as fast breathing, labored breathing, seeing the nose flare every time that a breath is taken or seeing the ribs or above the clavicles sucking in each time that there’s a breath. That means they’re trying to force the air into their bodies,” said Berger.

Other serious signs for infants include:

  • Being extremely irritable and inconsolable
  • New confusion or not being able to wake up
  • Bluish lips
  • Inability to keep liquids down
  • Dehydration

Although infections are still increasing, researchers believe there is some good news.

“In terms of the Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in children, the MIS-C, where kids have been getting super, super sick although rarely, that does seem to be happening much less now than it was back in the days of delta,” said Berger