State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers confirmed the death of a child under 5 years of age on Wednesday, marking the sixth pediatric death in Mississippi since the beginning of the pandemic. The rate of pediatric death has risen since the arrival of the delta variant. Photo by Nick Judin
A sixth child has died in Mississippi due to complications from COVID-19, the Mississippi State Department of Health said Wednesday. In a press briefing that day, State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers confirmed the death, but declined to give any identifying information.
“We’re seeing more COVID in those kids now,” Byers said. “Certainly, a lot of those children are unvaccinated. We’re encouraging everyone now to make sure that your children 12 and older are vaccinated.”
Pediatric cases are on the rise, with seven children in intensive-care units and three children on ventilators as of Wednesday afternoon.
In addition, pediatric deaths are on the rise, doubling this month alone due to the increased severity of the delta variant seen in children. Children under age 12 are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, exacerbating an already precarious situation as schools report increasing outbreaks in each weekly report.
The increase in school-related cases among students and faculty prompted the Jackson Public School District to institute a new policy allowing for virtual learning, beginning on Sept. 2.
Statewide cases remain at more than 3,000 per day, straining medical resources and personnel. MSDH reported 3,425 new cases today alone, with 34 additional deaths. Long-term care facilities also remain hotbeds of COVID-19 outbreaks, with MSDH reporting 178 current outbreaks in the facilities.
“We are still seeing a whole lot of cases,” Byers said. “We’re seeing over 3,000 cases a day, almost. That’s still a lot of cases. When we look at these deaths, we are seeing a number of deaths in younger individuals in their 40s, 30s and, in some cases, in their 20s. These are unvaccinated individuals."
The state has suffered 423,599 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, while 8,214 Mississippians have lost their lives to the virus.
Email Reporting Fellow Julian Mills at [email protected].