OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Another Oklahoma child under five has lost their life to COVID-19.

This heartbreaking news – also coming as the Oklahoma State Department of Health announces 24 of Oklahoma’s 122 current COVID-19 hospitalizations are pediatric cases.

The state is seeing a summer surge of the virus. 

It seems just about everyone knows at least one fellow Oklahoman currently impacted by COVID-19.

“I have known more people personally in the last two-three weeks with COVID than the whole time,” said Dr. Donna Tyungu, a pediatrician with OU Health.

For doctors like her, while cases have slowed, they’ve never gone away – even for the state’s youngest patients. 

“A lot of the pediatric patients that we see, they don’t have preexisting conditions, they don’t have any reason to be hospitalized, it just can be aggressive in different people and we don’t know why,” Tyungu told News 4.

It can be puzzling to some – as children are often believed to be more protected from the virus.

“There are certain receptors that children don’t have – that they can’t absorb the virus but when you get overwhelmed with the amount of virus that these new variants release, then it can even penetrate the protection that children have,” Tyungu said. 

But there is hope on the horizon for the youngest group.

The FDA and CDC are set to consider the authorization and recommendation of the first COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5.  

“So we might, in the next week or two, have vaccination available for that age group,” said Tyungu.

Dr. Tyungu says she’s continuing to see kids come in who are dealing with the long-term impacts of COVID-19. That’s another reason she recommends parents get their children the shot when they’re eligible.