Doctors continue to say severe COVID-19 risk is low in children

kids covid
Posted at 3:03 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-30 23:26:38-04

NORFOLK, Va. - With news of another child dying from COVID-19 in Virginia, doctors continue to say the risk to children from the virus is low.

"Risk is still very low of COVID and death from COVID in children," said Dr. Ryan Light from TPMG Greenbrier.

On Thursday, the Virginia Department of Health announced a child under 9 years old died in the eastern region of Virginia, but isn't releasing more information.

Teresa Sperry, a 10-year-old from Suffolk, died of COVID-19 complications at CHKD on Monday. In July, Schwanda Corprew died in Norfolk.

VDH says 13 people under 19 years old have died of COVID-19 in Virginia since the start of the pandemic. Out of the 12,750 deaths in the state, children make up .1% of the deaths.

"I would reassure parents and say that the incidence of severe disease in children is extremely, extremely low," State Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Danny Avula told WTVR on Wednesday. "There are a small percentage of kids who will develop more severe disease and so continuing to encourage mask wearing certainly in schools where it's required but even when you go to a restaurant or the grocery store or some public setting, having our younger kids wear masks is a really important part of protecting them."

Dr. Light explained what parents should look out for.

"We're still looking for that cough, fever, chills - just feeling under the weather. Sometimes children have the minimalist symptoms," he said. "Just get them evaluated very quickly. Get a rapid test on them."

Still, there are many questions about Sperry's death. Her parents say she developed symptoms just five days before she died.

"It affected her much quicker than anybody thought it ever would have. Five days - that's it," Nicole Sperry, her mom, told News 3.

While her family is trying to come to terms with her loss, the community is pausing to remember her.

"This is devastating news. No one wants to hear about it happening to a student at any level," said Sherri Story, a Suffolk School Board member.

Sperry was a fifth grade student at Hillpoint Elementary School.

"I think everybody should take time and reflect," said Story. "We need to make time in our busy schedule to just take a moment and reflect on people we've lost and families, especially our student."

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