Amy Schumer revealed over the weekend that her son was rushed to the emergency room for respiratory syncytial virus — and she had to miss a Saturday Night Live rehearsal as a result.
The 41-year-old comedian shared on Sunday how her three-year-old son, Gene, had been diagnosed with the virus, which is spreading rapidly throughout the United States and is threatening to overwhelm children’s hospitals
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common infection that virtually all children get before they are two years old triggering cold-like symptoms. It typically causes around 50,000 hospitalizations each year.
But during the pandemic, restrictions like face masks and social distancing meant to stop the spread of COVID also stopped this virus from circulating, leaving young children without the immunity to fight it off.
In just the last week of October alone, the Centers for Disease Control reports, more than 7,000 tests came back positive for the virus — which kills about 100 to 500 children each year.
‘This was the hardest week of my life,’ Schumer captioned a slideshow on Instagram. ‘I missed Thursday rehearsals when my son was rushed to ER and admitted for RSV.’
Fortunately, she said, Gene is now back home safe and healthy.
Amy Schumer revealed she had to miss an important Saturday Night Live rehearsal after her son was rushed to emergency room for Respiratory syncytial virus
RSV cases have been spreading throughout the United States in recent weeks
‘Shout out to all the parents going though this right now,’ she continued, adding she ‘got to be with him the whole day at the hospital and the beautiful humans at @nbcsnl couldn’t have been more supportive.’
‘The reason this show is so fun to do isn’t actually the performance or the show itself. ‘It’s getting to spend time with the people there,’ Schumer raved of SNL’s cast and crew, whom she described as ‘the most talented people with the kindest hearts.’
The I Feel Pretty actress also assured her fans that Gene is already ‘home and better’ following his hospitalization.
She concluded: ‘Thank you everyone there and to the doctors and nurses who helped us.’
The 41-year-old comedian shared her story just hours after hosting Saturday Night Live for the third time in her career
RSV has become an epidemic in the United States, after cases of the virus were reported earlier than usual.
Th virus usually appears in late autumn/winter and then disappears for the spring and summer months.
But this year cases of RSV started showing up in spring as schools ditched mask mandates and exposed kids to viruses and other illnesses they may have come in contact with before.
RSV cases are now at levels comparable to December 2019 — the last year cases were this bad — and at their highest point in October for four years.
It is not clear how many have died in the current wave, but the CDC says normally 100 to 500 die from it every year.
Schools throughout the country have had to shutter for several days as a result, Romper reports, with the Decatur City Schools in Alabama switching to remote learning after nearly 100 students and about 30 percent of the school’s staff reported having a fever or other symptoms.
Experts now warn there may be a ‘tripledemic’ this winter, with seasonal menaces like RSV and the flu returning ‘with a vengeance’ while Covid infections are also expected to tick back up.
She shared the news in an Instagram slideshow Sunday morning
And a new combination of Influenza A and RSV have created two new hybrid viruses, which would be completely unrecognizable to the immune system — thereby increasing the risk that someone could become seriously ill.
‘This kind of hybrid virus has never been described before,’ said University of Glasgow Prof. Pablo Murcia.
‘We are talking about viruses from two completely different families combining together with the genomes and the external proteins of both viruses. It is a new type of virus pathogen,’ he said.
Those two viruses fused together could enable them to access more lung cells, experts say, and could A hybrid virus could also increase the risk of triggering a potentially fatal case of viral pneumonia.
RSV can cause severe infection in some people, including babies, older adults, people with heart and lung disease, or anyone with a weak immune system
WHAT IS RSV?
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a very common virus that almost all children become infected with by the age of two.
In older children and adults, RSV can trigger colds and coughs, but it can cause bronchiolitis in young children.
The virus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can survive on a surface for up to 24 hours.
Children remain infectious for up to three weeks, even after their symptoms have passed.
RSV accounts for 450,000 GP appointments, 29,000 hospitalisations and 83 deaths per year among children in the UK.
In the US, it leads to around 58,000 hospitalisations and 100 to 500 deaths among children aged younger than five.
But RSV by itself has already proven to be life-threatening, with Allison Blocker, from North Carolina, telling the horror she faced when her daughter, Ava, was put on a ventilator after a ‘mucus plug’ caused her lungs to collapse.
She told how her daughter only seemed to have a cough and a runny nose when she first got sick last month.
But within a few days the eight-week-old started to wheeze and struggle to breathe.
Concerned, Blocker took her to the local clinic where nurses had ‘just one look’ before calling an ambulance.
Ava was promptly hooked up to an oxygen machine for two-and-a-half days to boost her breathing, before being intubated and put on a ventilator when mucus led to her lungs collapsing.
But after two-and-a-half days they put her on a ventilator when mucus led to her lungs collapsing.
She said: ‘You can’t help but go to that place, you can’t help but go to, “I’m going to lose my baby. I got just eight weeks with my baby, I’m going to lose my baby”.’
But after a week on a ventilator Ava’s condition improved, allowing her to be discharged.
Another mother, Shanistry Ireland from Columbus, Ohio, also revealed her two-month-old son Asa was rushed to hospital after RSV left his breathing ‘restricted and labored’.
Ireland aid her son needed to ‘fight for his life’ from the RSV infection, which also started with mild symptoms in mid-October.
But his symptoms soon progressed to ‘severe’ making his breathing ‘labored and restricted’ and his rib cage undergoing retractions as he gasped for air.
Asa was then rushed to the hospital where doctors diagnosed RSV alongside bronchitis, rhinovirus and an ear infection.
She said it left her just ‘bawling my eyes out’ in the wards, adding: ‘I had no idea what my child had, and I had no idea that he was quite frankly fighting for his life.’
Asa Ireland, a two months old from Columbus, Ohio, was hospitalized with RSV after it left him struggling to breathe. He is pictured with mother Shanistry, who said it had left her ‘scared’ and ‘bawling my eyes out’
Fortunately, Pfizer’s experimental RSV vaccine has proven to be highly effective in fighting the fast-spreading virus.
The pharmaceutical giant announced last week that its shot can reduce the risk of hospitalization among infants up to six months of age infected with the seasonal virus.
The vaccine is administered to pregnant women during the late second to third trimester of their pregnancy, allowing the antibodies to travel into the placenta, and conferring protection to the fetus.
Pfizer’s trial included 7,400 pregnant women in 18 countries who either received a dose of the experimental vaccine or a placebo.
It found that administering the vaccine to expectant mothers was nearly 82 percent effective at preventing severe illness caused by RSV in infants during their first 90 days of life.
At six months, the vaccine was still 69 percent effective.
Pfizer expects to finalize its petition for approval from the Food and Drug Administration by the end of 2022, potentially setting up a federal go-ahead before the next respiratory infection season kicks off.