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Omicron is not the most common virus spreading in Colorado schools: 'Equally as serious'

Omicron variant driving spike in COVID case numbers

Hopkins Center for Health Security’s Dr. Amesh Adalja describes the expected trajectory of the omicron variant amid rising cases.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus is not the most prevalent virus spreading in Colorado schools, according to a medical official in the state. 

Dr. Reginald Washington, the chief medical officer at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, says the Respiratory Syncytial Virus is spreading more among children in and around the Denver area than the coronavirus. 

“RSV is very contagious and very prevalent in the school system as well as throughout daycare centers and in homes. So RSV is certainly the winner,” Washington said, according to KDVR. 

Young mother of small hospitalized girl talking to doctor in hospital, midsection.

RSV is a contagious virus that causes infections of the respiratory tract. Infants and seniors are at the highest risk of severe infection, while it can make it difficult to breathe for some children.  

RSV causes between 100-500 deaths each year among children younger than five years old, according to the CDC. There are about 14,000 deaths each year from the virus among adults over the age of 65. 

Overall, doctors in Colorado say RSV is the top virus infecting kids, followed by COVID and then the adenovirus. 

Washington warned parents to not let their guard down if their child tests negative for the coronavirus but has similar symptoms to COVID. 

“The one thing I’m concerned about is if a parent gets a test on their child for COVID and it’s negative, they assume they can let their guard down when they really can’t because these other viruses can be equally as serious,” Washington added.

Will children in the classrooms be potential carriers of COVID-19
(Credit:kali9 / iStock)

Doctors and researchers said late last month that they have not seen evidence showing the omicron variant of the virus is more dangerous to children than other variations. The number of pediatric hospitalizations for the coronavirus, however, has risen, including in a handful of states that are reporting record numbers. 

“COVID is increasing in its prevalence. It’s not making children as sick as it has been in adults, but there are some children, particularly those at risk — those would be kids who are obese, have chronic kidney or heart disease or have other respiratory illnesses — tend not to do as well with COVID,” Washington added.

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