A big question is what does this new model mean for the months to come. A summer surge doesn’t necessarily mean that there won’t be more instances when the weather turns cold. And in some areas, cases are only starting to increase now, in early fall.
“RSV, and the bronchiolitis it causes, is certainly the key thing that children’s hospitals are planning, waiting, starting to see and treat right now,” says Sophia Varadkar, assistant medical director and consultant pediatric neurologist at Great Ormond. London Children’s Street Hospital.
In her hospital, cases have started to increase and she expects to see more in the coming weeks. For those caring for babies, RSV may be of greater concern than Covid-19, Varadkar says. “Covid for children, in general, was not a major illness. It didn’t make a lot of kids really sick. RSV is a potentially more serious illness, [affecting] a lot more kids, and we certainly know that can make these little babies sick, ”she says.
With the reopening of schools, viruses, including RSV, will have more opportunities to spread. But the behavior of adults can be even more crucial. In Switzerland, nurseries and nurseries remained open all winter and young children did not wear masks. Yet almost no child contracted viral infections such as RSV and the flu that winter, likely because adult hygiene measures helped protect them.
“People always say that children infect adults, but come to think of it, that was not the case here at all, it was the other way around,” Berger explains. “When adults and older children wear masks, observe social distancing, and wash their hands, we don’t see the flu or RSV. And when they relax their measurements, the virus is circulating again, and more young children end up in the hospital. “