Surge in COVID-19 cases sparks debate on growing risk for children

COVID-19 cases are up nearly 60% in a week, and more than 35,000 cases have been reported a day. With the rise in infections, officials are sharing concerns for unvaccinated children.
4:39 | 07/22/21

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Transcript for Surge in COVID-19 cases sparks debate on growing risk for children
We begin with the growing concern over the surge in new covid cases across this country. Fueled by the highly contagious delta variant. Among the unvaccinated and the breakthrough cases among people who are vaccinated. Health officials continue to say the vast majority of breakthrough cases are mild thanks to the vaccine. But it's still rattling many. Tonight the hospital ers filling with patients, many of them young who did not get vaccinated and a doctor who reportedly said that she's had to tell young patients in the hospital begging her for that vaccine, I'm sorry, but it's too late. New covid cases rising to more than 35,000 a day. That's up nearly 60% in a week. Tonight more than 23,000 new pediatric cases reported just in the past week. That's twice as many as we were seeing just a couple of weeks ago at the end of June. And as schools in Chandler, Arizona, right there re-open today, the renewed debate across the country over masks in schools. The American academy of pediatrics as we reported here now recommending masks for all children and dulls in school even those who are vaccinated to protect everyone. But parents as you'll hear right here tonight are divided. And the numbers tonight, 186 million Americans have received at least one dose of vaccine, 65% of people 1 years and older. ABC's whit Johnson leading us off. Reporter: Tonight, daily cases tripling to more than 35,000 per day. This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Reporter: Growing concern for unvaccinated kids. More than 23,000 new pediatric cases in the last week. Nearly double the number reported at the end of June. In Georgia the family of Wyatt Gibson says he was a healthy 5-year-old before he contracted covid, strep and staff passing away from a massive stroke Friday. His father, a sheriff's deputy writing on Facebook, I have lost my best friend. Across the country, nearly 22,000 Americans hospitalized with the virus. Doctors in Las Vegas say they're reliving last winter's surge all over again. They're so sick currently that the doctors are talking doing tracheostomies on all of these patients. Reporter: In Alabama Dr. Brytney cobia says she's seeing healthy young people with serious covid infections, writing on Facebook, "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late." She goes on to say after patients die, "I hug their family members, and I tell them that the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same. They cry, and they tell me they didn't know. They thought it was a hoax." The delta variant now making up an estimated 83% of new cases in the U.S., raising questions about breakthrough infections. Officials in provincetown, Massachusetts, tracking 59 -- at least 132 covid cases after the fourth of July saying the vast majority are among those already vaccinated. Experiencing mild symptoms. While the vaccines have been effective at preventing severe illness, former director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, says we need to learn more about breakthrough cases. Breakthrough infections are concerning, and that's why we need to look at who people are, where they are and what they're doing. So if you've got an immunosuppressive condition, you are going to want to be more careful. Reporter: In San Antonio, the shute family was fully vaccinated but four out of five family members got breakthrough infections. Their symptoms mild or none at all. For that they credit the vaccine. I'm very thankful we got it, thinking about how bad it could have been if we had not had that boost in our immune system. We could have ended up in the hospital. Real concern for the unvaccinated and how quickly this is spreading. Obviously also concern over the breakthrough cases and, whit, the former CDC director saying today in that interview that more cases are to be expected and I know authorities are saying the vast majority are mild but still it's making people nervous who went out of their way to get the vaccine and now are seeing some of these breakthrough cases pop up with people they know. Reporter: Dr. Frieden says as it spreads rapidly, you will have more of these breakthrough infections as well, and while those who are vaccinated are much less likely to suffer from severe illness there will be rare incidents of hospitalization and death. That's why he says it's so critical for more people to get vaccinated to slow this virus down. David. Whit Johnson battling the plans siren. We heard just about every word, whit. As I mentioned off the top a

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