Louisiana health officials on Wednesday announced the death of a child under 1 due to COVID-19, marking the 11th pediatric fatality in the state since the beginning of the pandemic. The death, one of 110 new fatalities reported Wednesday, brings Louisiana’s number of COVID-19-related fatalities to 12,226.
“Each COVID-19 death in Louisiana has been heart–wrenching, but the loss of such a young child, who could not be vaccinated yet, is tragic and a stark reminder of the difficult circumstance we are in throughout Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release. “Right now, we are seeing younger people hospitalized. They are getting sicker than in the previous surge and unfortunately some of them may die. Already, this week, we have confirmed 6,146 COVID cases in children and last week there were 63 pediatric cases of COVID admitted to the hospital. Even children who are not hospitalized or very sick are contagious.”
The state reported that 31% of new COVID-19 cases involve children younger than 18. Data reflects that 81% of deaths between Aug. 12 and Aug. 18 were among those not vaccinated.
States nationwide are reporting increases in cases and hospitalizations among children, a concerning trend as schools reopen. Currently, children ages 12-15 can seek the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine under emergency use authorization. The two-dose jab was recently given full FDA approval for anyone ages 16 and older, but studies involving children younger than 11 are ongoing.
“The best way we can protect ourselves, our loved ones and young children who are not eligible to get the vaccine is to get vaccinated ourselves and wear a mask,” Dr. Joseph Kanter, the state’s health officer, said in a news release. “It’s really that simple.”