Biden administration sidesteps calls to declare RSV a health emergency
The Biden administration on Thursday sidestepped calls from pediatric groups that have been urging the government to declare a public health emergency in
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Thursday sidestepped calls from pediatric groups that have been urging the government to declare a public health emergency in response to the surge in respiratory illnesses in children.
In a statement responding to pressure from the Children’s Hospital Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other groups, a Biden administration official said that “public health emergencies are determined based on nationwide data, science trends, and the insight of public health experts.”
The official said the administration is “ready to provide assistance to communities who are in need of help on a case-by-case basis” and encouraged people to take preventive action, such as “avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying up to date on their flu and COVID-19 vaccines to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.”
Pediatric units across the U.S. are overwhelmed by an unseasonally early surge of respiratory viruses among babies and toddlers, including RSV and the flu. Some parts of the country have completely run out of pediatric beds.
As of Wednesday, 78% of pediatric hospital beds were full nationwide, with seven states reporting capacity levels above 90%, according to an NBC News analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Services.