‘The Rundown’: A bleak warning about kids and COVID

A Utah ICU doctor says ‘kids are getting sicker’ during the latest coronavirus spike

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A stark warning about kids and COVID

There was a very bleak post on the r/SaltLakeCity subreddit over the weekend from an ICU doctor following the tragic news that a teenager had died from COVID-19.

“Friendly neighborhood ICU doc reporting. Won’t be the last death,” a user wrote.

“Kids are getting sicker this time around, and it is happening more frequently. This includes newborns, toddlers, teens. Has not spared any of them. There are multiple cases on the ventilator, which is not something that happens routinely in children,” they wrote.

They said in their Reddit post that their hospital is seeing spikes that are “nearing levels of what associate with a bad flu season,” and many pediatric patients were spending time in the emergency department waiting for a bed due to the crush of cases.

“The Rundown” reached out and verified this person’s credentials as a doctor who works with children at a hospital in Utah but asked us not to use their name.

In a text message exchange, the ICU doctor said most of the children they’ve taken care of recently have done well and not needed much support. They’re worried the situation could worsen.

“We are seeing a lot of respiratory viruses pop up concurrently - RSV, para flu, rhinovirus - at levels we normally see in the middle of the winter respiratory season. Combined with covid admissions, this is putting a strain on the resources available for other children. At some point in the last couple of weeks, children were waiting in the emergency room waiting for a bed which is not something that is done a lot. (The hospital I work at) had patients transferred for ICU care from intermountain health because Primary Children’s couldn’t make space for them in a timely fashion (trust me, they don’t send kids out of their system unless they really need to). This makes it difficult to provide timely care for patients who come in with acute needs, or patients with chronic illnesses that flare unexpectedly,” they said.

They added The situation is not completely dire, but the signs are not good.

“Overall, kids seem to do much better than adults. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t seeing poor outcomes. Several pediatric patients have died already in Utah, and we are seeing more admissions for minor respiratory illness across all age groups. In states that had flares a bit earlier, my colleagues are taking care of patients on (ECMO) bypass machines at higher rates than prior spikes, and MISC that we are seeing are sicker as well,” they said.

Here’s what you need to know for Tuesday morning

🏛 Make sure you read Leia Larsen’s one-on-one conversation with SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall. The mayor says the rising number of COVID-19 cases bolsters her case for imposing a mask mandate. [Tribune]

😷 The Utah State Board of Education voted down a resolution in support of requiring masks in public schools. [Tribune]

🦠 Utah parents are growing increasingly frustrated as coronavirus cases spike and schools cannot do much in response. [Tribune]

💉 Anti-vaccine mandate groups target an Orem business owner who requires employees to be vaccinated against the virus. [Tribune]

😷 Gov. Spencer Cox backed away from a controversial statement he made that seemingly suggested masks are not very effective in limiting the spread of COVID-19. [Tribune]

⚖️ The Justice Department is exploring “all options” to challenge Texas’ restrictive abortion law. [WaPo]

  • An online form set up by an anti-abortion group in Texas to allow people to snitch on those they believe have violated the state’s abortion ban has been pulled offline for a second time. [WaPo]

🚨 Law enforcement officials are increasingly alarmed by the possibility of violence from an upcoming right-wing rally in support of jailed January 6 rioters. [CNN]

🏫 The Utah State School Board reprimanded member Natalie Cline for a social media post critical of LGBTQ+ students. [Tribune]

🏛 President Joe Biden will visit New York and New Jersey on Tuesday to observe the damage from the remnants of Hurricane Ida. [AP]

💵 Enhanced federal unemployment benefits to help millions of workers during the pandemic have expired. President Biden is asking states to continue helping the long-term unemployed. [NYT]

🗳 While former President Donald Trump was pressuring Georgia election officials to “find votes” to reverse his loss, others dealt with bomb threats and other potential violence. [Daily Beast]

👀 This story of how four Americans escaped Afghanistan via an overland route is incredible. [CNN]

💉 A growing number of first responders across the country are pushing back against COVID-19 vaccine mandates [AP]

✈️ The surge of COVID-19 across the country could hurt airlines who were counting on an increase in business travel this fall. [WSJ]

😢 Michael K. Williams, the brilliant actor who played Omar Little in “The Wire,” was found dead in his apartment on Sunday. He was 54. [Gothamist]

Your Tuesday morning Utah news roundup


  • Grand County High School cancels classes, activities due to COVID-19 outbreak. [Tribune]

  • See inside Utah’s first ‘living building’ — Can this approach help save the world? [Tribune]

  • Utah school land trust to sell unprofitable 8,000-acre block near Powder Mountain. [Tribune]

  • ‘Everything is in danger’: Utah’s first Afghan refugee shares his personal account of chaos in Kabul. [Deseret News]

  • Most downtown SLC employees still working from home. [Fox 13]

  • Group representing Utah landlords doesn’t expect evictions to rise anytime soon. [KUTV]


  • Comic Patton Oswalt cancels concert at Kingsbury Hall, due to rules against requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. [Tribune]

  • Businesses find protests and support in the wake of COVID-19 vaccine and testing policies. [Tribune]

  • COVID-19 mass vaccination sites may return to Utah — but only if feds OK booster shots. [Deseret News]


  • All objectives met on Oak Grove Fire, officials say. [Tribune]

On the opinion pages

  • Utah leaders have dawdled long enough, the Editorial Board writes. Time for Spencer Cox to act against pandemic. [Tribune

  • Utah leaders are betting they won’t be blamed for deaths, closed schools and other economic damage, George Pyle writes. [Tribune]

  • Brigette Weier and Ali Dedman: How are the children of Utah? Mitt Romney could help. [Tribune]

  • Brenton Erickson: LDS ‘commandments; about marriage and sex have changed before and they should change again. [Tribune]

  • Dan Mabbutt: George H.W. Bush knew how to conduct a war. [Tribune]

  • Stephen Pyne: Living in our new age of fire. [Tribune]

  • Justin F. Thulin: ‘Code Red. This is an emergency’. [Tribune]

  • David Burns: Can the center hold when Americans are at war over race? [Tribune]

🎂 You say it’s your birthday?!!

Happy birthday to former state Rep. Fred Hunsaker and Ken Verdoia, former director of production at KUED.

Happy belated birthday to Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and Leslie Reberg who celebrated on Saturday and former chief of staff for the Utah House of Representatives Greg Hartley and gun rights advocate Clark Aposhian who celebrated on Sunday.

Got a birthday you’d like us to recognize in this space? Send us an email.

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