(Headline USA) As President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, Ed.D., enjoyed a romp at Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday with their new puppy, Commander, children everywhere continued to suffer and die.
President Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden walked and played with their new puppy, Commander, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Tuesday evening. pic.twitter.com/5UjrzLTtpi
— The Hill (@thehill) December 29, 2021
Many critics rightfully hammered Biden for wearing a mask on the deserted beach—a clear indication of political theater—even as he has been known to go maskless at inappropriate times in public places.
Yet, the mask debate was something of a canard following Biden’s recent announcement abdicating federal responsibility for the pandemic and putting the onus on state governors to deal with it.
The latest crisis arrives as panicmongering about the relatively mild omicron variant has become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Several blue states have seen a surge of alarmed citizens overwhelming the already understaffed hospitals, which had previously implemented mass layoffs due to Biden’s vaccine mandates.
Omicron’s spread underscores Biden’s failure to adequately prepare for another outbreak while his administration has been fixated on political solutions, such as scapegoating the unvaccinated and deflecting back to the previous administration.
Vice President Kamala Harris recently backpedaled on blaming former President Donald Trump by declaring that the virus was “no one’s fault.”
Nonetheless, the administration’s too-little-too-late efforts to tone down its rhetoric offered a convenient way for Democrats to pass the buck on their own broken promises to make ending COVID a top priority.
Worse, the omicron-fueled surge that sent COVID-19 cases rocketing in the U.S. is putting children in the hospital in close to record numbers.
Hardest hit have been places like New York City, which already has imposed a vaccine mandate requiring most children to receive the jab in order to attend school or be allowed in stores and restaurants.
During the week of Dec. 21-27, an average of 334 children 17 and under were admitted per day to hospitals with the coronavirus, a 58% increase from the week before, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The scenes are heart-wrenching.
“They’re struggling to breathe, coughing, coughing, coughing,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an infectious-disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“A handful were sent to the ICU to be sedated,” he added. “We put the attachment down their throat that’s attached to a ventilator, and the parents are crying.”
Overall, new cases in Americans of all ages have skyrocketed to the highest levels on record: an average of 300,000 per day, or 2 1/2 times the figure just two weeks ago.
The highly contagious omicron accounted for 59% of new cases last week, according to the CDC.
In California, 80 COVID-19-infected children were admitted to the hospital during the week of Dec. 20-26, compared with 50 in the last week of November, health officials said.
Seattle Children’s also reported a bump in the number of children admitted over the past week. And while they are less seriously ill than those hospitalized over the summer, Dr. John McGuire cautioned that it is early in the omicron wave, and the full effect will become apparent over the next several weeks.
The number of children admitted to the hospital per week in New York City with COVID-19 went from 22 to 109 between Dec. 5 and Dec. 24. Across all of New York state, it went from 70 to 184. Overall, almost 5,000 people in New York were in the hospital with COVID-19.
COVID-19 deaths have proved rare among children over the course of the pandemic. As of last week, 721 in the U.S. had died of the disease, according to data reported to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The overall U.S. death toll is more than 800,000, with more than half of those coming this year on Biden’s watch.
Almost 199,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported in the week of Dec. 16-23, the pediatrics group said. That was about 20% of the more than 950,000 total cases reported that week.
While many of these children will recover at home, they may have contact with others who are at much greater risk, said Dr. Jason Terk, a pediatrician in North Texas. He cared for a 10-year-old boy with COVID-19 who managed the disease well, but his father got sick and died, he said.
“The death of a parent is devastating, but the toxic stress for a young person in this situation is difficult to measure,” he said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press