Anita S. Henderson, MD, a pediatrician at Hattiesburg Clinic The Pediatric Clinic and president of the Mississippi Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics, spoke with reporters about the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Mississippi, attributing it to the emergence of new variants, like the delta variant.
“Every time a virus multiplies, it has a chance to change. So, every time it replicates, there is an opportunity for a slight change,” Dr. Henderson said in an interview with WDAM. “The reason we have all these variants is that we have seen widespread multiplication, replication and transmission throughout the world.
The delta variant has been labeled as a variant of concern by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Studies have shown that the new variant has 1,000 times more viral particles than the original coronavirus.
“So that means when [someone with Covid-19] coughs or sneezes, you are more likely to catch it,” Dr. Henderson said. “That is what the concern is for unvaccinated people. For vaccinated people, we are more protected; however, the more virus that is circulating amongst the community, the more likely we are to be in contact with a large viral load.”
Dr. Henderson emphasized that coronavirus is a preventable disease. She noted the first line of defense to combat Covid-19 is through widespread vaccination.
“My message to Mississippi parents is to get vaccinated now,” Dr. Henderson announced on air with Mississippi Public Radio. “Get your child ages 12 and up vaccinated now. Covid is serious. It is severe, and it can be deadly in children, as is evidenced by the number of children in the hospital and ICU right now.”
The recent rise in Covid-19 cases, particularly among the younger demographics, is sobering and causing concern for physicians as they anticipate another cumbersome fall.
“We are very concerned, upset, disheartened, worried with our families out there about what is going on in the state of Mississippi,” Dr. Henderson said in an interview with WLBT. “We want all our children to be in school in-person without all the disruptions, but we are concerned that this Delta variant is going to affect school in a negative way.”
Follow the links to see the full interviews: