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Childhood acute respiratory illnesses: will normal inadequate services be resumed?
  1. Prasad Nagakumar1,2,
  2. Andrew Bush3,4,
  3. Atul Gupta5,6
  1. 1 Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham, UK
  2. 2 Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  3. 3 Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK
  4. 4 Leukocyte Biology, Imperial College London, National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK
  5. 5 Respiratory Pediatrics, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  6. 6 Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King's College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Prasad Nagakumar, Paediatric Respiratory Medicine and Cystic Fibrosis, Birmingham Children's Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham B4 6NH, UK; p.nagakumar{at}

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Autumn is characterised by an increase in asthma and wheeze attacks in children. Important contributory factors include transmission of respiratory viral infection as children go back to school, variable adherence to asthma medications during the summer holidays and changes in the weather.1 Significant reductions in wheeze and asthma attacks were reported during the ‘first COVID-19 pandemic wave’.2 Rhinovirus (RV) is the leading cause of acute respiratory infections and wheeze attacks in children and adults, but influenza virus and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) also contribute to severe winter respiratory illnesses.

Winter 2019, pre-COVID, was a UK NHS disaster for young children. At times, we actually ran out of paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) beds. What then is the winter of 2020 going to look like for children, parents and healthcare providers with regard to respiratory infections in children? The data from the southern hemisphere countries Australia, South Africa and Chile showed significant reduction in influenza infection in the winter of 2020. Out of the 80 000 samples tested for influenza …

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  • Twitter @prasadnagakumar

  • Contributors AB, PN and AG conceived the idea. PN, AB and AG wrote the first draft. All authors contributed equally to the work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.