As people work to stop the spread of COVID-19, North Texas doctors warn of possible measles outbreak

There has been a rising trend in COVID-19 cases over the last seven days in some parts of the U.S.

As health officials keep an eye out for a possible second wave of the coronavirus, the head of the American Medical Association is warning that health care professionals are anxious about the possibility of a measles outbreak.

That’s because people were not able to go to the doctor or take kids to pediatricians as they sheltered in place to try and contain the coronavirus.

Many kids did not get vaccinations against things like measles, which means we could be fighting two viruses at the same time.

“It is very important to me to see hospitalizations continue to increase, the number of cases continue to rise,” Dr. Susan Bailey said.

The Fort Worth doctor is one week into her new position as president of the American Medical Association.

“I feel excited,” she added.

Excited about her new position, but wary about the upward curve of new coronavirus cases, and maybe a resurgence of another virus.

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An unintended consequence of trying to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Surviving coronavirus pandemic isn’t going to do us much good if we end up with a measles epidemic because children haven’t been able to get their vaccines,” Dr. Bailey said.

“Parents who would've had their child get the vaccine anyway have really just stayed home for safety reasons to follow stay-at-home orders,” Coppell pediatrician Dr. Angela Moemeka said. “When you look at the data from CDC published a few weeks ago, we are actually seeing a decrease in vaccination rates, a decrease in orders for state funded vaccines, and in general, a declining rate in vaccinations for kids.”

The CDC charts show that sharp decline in vaccine doses ordered and administered for measles starting mid-March, when the national emergency was declared.

The vaccination void is concerning.

“There are just measles hotspots waiting to break out just all over the country, and immunization rates are definitely down all over the world, and many children are now vulnerable because they haven’t been able to keep up with their vaccines,” Dr. Bailey said.

“I got my kids vaccinated,” Marisol Sauceda said.

Sauceda made her appointment to get in with her three and five-year-old as soon as shelter-in-place eased and doctors were seeing patients again.

“I've been to the doctor in the last couple of weeks and it’s been fine because they take a lot of precautions at the hospital when you go in at the doctor’s office, they'll take a lot of precautions,” Sauceda said.

Precautions that doctors want people to take against an old virus by vaccinating their kids, and a new virus, by personal decisions.

“Wear a mask. Keep your hands clean. Stay home if you can, and six feet apart if you can’t,” Dr. Bailey added.

Dr. Bailey put out a statement as AMA president Friday urging extra vigilance in personal protection as cases of coronavirus rise.

Warning that if we act as though it's behind us, it will lead to another surge.