First child under 10 dies of COVID-19 as hospitalizations reach highest levels since May

Posted at 10:54 AM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 08:45:34-05

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland's Department of Health on Monday reported for the first time, that a child under age 10 had died from COVID-19.

In the last 24 hours - 16 deaths have been reported, bringing the total number to 4,486.

Monday also marked the highest number of hospitalizations since May at 1,527.

Currently the state's positivity rate sits at 6.86 percent.

It's still unclear how the Thanksgiving holiday might impact the number of daily cases reported in the near future.

These developments come as another vaccine gets ready for emergency use authorization.

"We expected that we would see children die as more cases occur. It clearly isn’t as deadly as influenza is to children but it does have the ability to cause severe disease," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and infectious disease physician.

"The most important thing to take away is that in general, children are spared from the severe consequences of COVID-19," says Adalja, "But that doesn’t mean they don’t occur and if you have a child with COVID-19, be alert for severe symptoms."

"We have seen children die from this all around the country. Usually those children have other medical conditions. They may be asthmatic. They may have immune system problems," Adalja said.

He said the most notable trend on Monday is the surge in hospitalizations.

"You start to worry about hospital capacity and how long this is sustainable because this virus is really showing no ability to come under control in the U.S. and hospitals are going to be in a prolonged surge where they have to really worry about capacity and staffing and personal protective equipment," Adalja said.

But there was a bit of good news Monday, Moderna announced it's prepared to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA.

"I think this is absolutely terrific," said Dr. Karen Kotloff, who leads the University of Maryland site for the company's vaccine trial.

"This has been very intense. We made every effort to enroll lots of people, this study was 30,000, quickly," said Dr. Kotloff.

She said data from 196 cases released Monday shows the vaccine reduces incidents of illness by 94 percent.

"That is more than we ever could have hoped for," said Dr. Kotloff.

Other important findings include the vaccine's impact on severe COVID-19 cases.

"The vaccine prevents 100% of severe case and that’s really important," Dr. Kotloff says.

She said the data suggests the vaccine could protect a diverse group of people from the virus.

"Especially including people who are most likely to get severe disease so that’s elderly. That’s people with underlying medical problems and it’s minorities," Kotloff said.

The FDA will review the applications from Moderna and a second vaccine, by Pfizer, around December 10.

Keep up-to-date on the latest coronavirus trends in Maryland by visiting our dashboard here.