A health care professional prepares to enter a COVID-19 patient’s room in an Ohio hospital in a file photograph. (Megan Jelinger/AFP via Getty Images)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that pneumonia cases in the United States appear to be consistent with previous years among children, coming in the midst of a surge of reported cases in China.
“As of today, we are not seeing anything that is atypical in terms of pneumonia-related emergency department visits,” CDC Director Mandy Cohen told reporters on Dec. 1.
The federal agency said on Dec. 1 that pneumonia “rates are roughly in line with previous years for patients aged 0–1 years and 2–4 years nationally.” For children aged 5 to 17, the “percent of emergency department visits diagnosed with pneumonia among patients” is “similar to pre-pandemic years, and it remains lower than that seen among younger children,” it said.
“Diagnosis of pneumonia in children, along with other respiratory illnesses, increases every year in the fall and winter months,” the CDC said, adding: “The weekly percent of emergency department visits with diagnosed pneumonia is largely consistent with previous years for children aged 0 to 4 years, with slight increases above typical levels for children aged 5 to 17 years, but still consistent with pre-pandemic years.”
Authorities in Warren County, Ohio, said that hospitals in the area have seen a surge in pediatric pneumonia cases in recent weeks, although county officials said it doesn’t appear to be linked with cases in China or elsewhere. There were also local media reports indicating an increase in pneumonia cases in Massachusetts.
In late November, an alert was sent out via the ProMed health surveillance system about a surge of cases in a number of Chinese hospitals, triggering fears of a new outbreak about four years after COVID-19 first emerged in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization (WHO) also released a statement urging transparency and seeking more information from Chinese officials.
The CDC bulletin stated the agency is monitoring cases in China and Europe, and it is “working closely” with state, local, and international health officials.
“Based on laboratory findings, these increases in pediatric pneumonia do not appear to be caused by a new virus or other pathogen,” the CDC said. “Instead, these increases are likely caused by viruses and bacteria we expect to see during the respiratory illness season.”
Ms. Cohen, the CDC director, also told reporters that “based on what we know,” the Chinese illnesses “are not due to a new or novel virus.”
Senators Seek Travel Ban
Meanwhile, several Republican senators last week called on President Joe Biden to implement a travel ban on China. They include Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.).
The senators cited the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) “long history of lying about public health crises” and called on the federal government to take action to protect the U.S. economy and Americans’ health.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CCP’s obfuscation of the truth, and lack of transparency, robbed the United States of vital knowledge about the disease and its origin,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the president. They were referring to accusations that the Chinese regime failed to alert the United States and other worldwide authorities about the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, which was spreading in central China in late 2019.
“That means we should immediately restrict travel between the United States and [China] until we know more about the dangers posed by this new illness,” the GOP senators wrote. “A ban on travel now could save our country from death, lockdowns, mandates, and further outbreaks later.”
Other than the CDC, the White House has not publicly responded to the rash of reported pneumonia cases in China.
In late November, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel called on the CCP to be more transparent with its reporting. “China’s recent pneumonia outbreak raises serious questions, and the World Health Organization is asking them. It’s time to abandon COVID deception and delays as transparent and timely information saves lives,” wrote Mr. Emanuel, the former Democrat mayor of Chicago and formerly an Obama White House official, on social media.
Chinese regime officials, meanwhile, have claimed the rise in cases can be attributed to RSV, COVID-19, influenza, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a type of bacteria that can cause “walking pneumonia.” The WHO’s statement last week said that it is monitoring the situation and has requested more information.
Ohio and Massachusetts Cases
Ohio’s Warren County Health District announced 142 cases of pediatric pneumonia since August 2023. They also noted that the figure is above the county’s average and meets the state’s definition of an outbreak.
The Ohio officials added that they “do not think this is a novel/new respiratory disease but rather a large uptick in the number of pneumonia cases normally seen at one time.” They further said that students should wash their hands, cover their coughs, and stay home when they’re sick.
In Massachusetts, cases of childhood pneumonia have also been reported, according to local media outlets. However, few details were provided.
From The Epoch Times
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