Michelle Rupp: Welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. Today’s topic, all things COVID. Joining me is Dr. Chad Rodgers. He’s our chief medical officer here at AFMC. Dr. Chad, COVID still here. And it’s all we talk about. We’re all getting COVID fatigue for sure. We thought we had it last year and it’s even worse. It feels like Groundhog Day. We’re just we’re just talking about this delta variant that everyone is familiar with. It seems as though information literally is changing minute by minute. And so, what you may say this morning, maybe outdated by this afternoon. So let’s talk just briefly about the delta variant. One of the things we’re hearing is that as opposed to good old fashioned COVID, this one really is homing in on Children and on students. Are you seeing that in your practice?

Dr. Chad Rodgers: Yeah, so definitely we’re seeing COVID among much younger populations now. A lot of our older populations of 60 plus were kind of in the last round. That’s who we sort of saw get very sick. They were very good about getting their vaccinations. But then you have the younger crew under 12 who couldn’t get vaccinated, that still can’t right at this moment. Hopefully, by the end of september we’ll have something or maybe early fall, but, you know, those kids couldn’t get vaccinated. So again, they can get infected now. Last round, they didn’t really get that sick. But now we’re seeing a lot more hospitalizations related to COVID, a lot more kids who are ending up in the ICU. And a lot more deaths from COVID in children. So it’s pretty frightening, but still not as much as older people. Still very rare.

MR: And in the younger crew, the vaccine for those 12 and older didn’t get some really good publicity. A lot of concerns about developing cardiac issues. And so go ahead and speak to that.

CR: Yeah. So one of the things we saw among Children, especially young teenagers, is myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle in the tissues around it. So they’d kind of pulled back and they looked at the vaccine because, you know, they were always looking at vaccine safety because they want to make sure that the benefits of the vaccine are greater than the risk of the vaccine. But we do know that with COVID itself, the infection, those kids can get a really severe myocarditis. And that’s what you see the bad inflammation of the heart and then of the lungs. And that’s what kids get really sick from. So, the vaccine when they saw the information of the heart, all those kids had a little bit chest pain and shortness of breath. It all resolved and there were no deaths associated with the vaccine.

MR: That’s frightening though. Just to think of a child having chest pains and shortness of breath as a parent. It’s even more frightening.

CR: More frightening. Yeah.

MR: We are on the cusp of the school year. And so, as we saw last year with COVID, you know, we do the roller coaster and then we start to go down. Have we peaked on this delta variant? Then we’ll start to go down until let’s see alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon rolls around in December.

CR: Right? So, we’re going back to school. You know, I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet at all. I think in fact, you’ll probably see a little bit more of an increase. But I think if people kind of go back to doing the things that they’re supposed to do … So, people who can get vaccinated, get vaccinated. That will protect children who cannot. If we can get a vaccination for the kids in the fall, that will really provide another layer of protection. But really wearing those masks, doing the distancing. I think, you know, we all kind of have to be conscious. We definitely don’t want to shut things down again. I think we all kind of learned that that wasn’t good for the kids. It wasn’t good for us. Certainly, there are great benefits of being in school compared to being virtual. But I think, you know, everybody taking the steps, they can to be safe, wear their masks, get vaccinated if you can.

MR: All right, great advice, Dr. Chad. Thanks, as always, for coming in.

CR: Thank you, Michelle