Cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are surging to new highs in babies and young kids across the U.S. Amid the surge, two Kansas City police officers are being lauded for their heroic actions to save the life of an infant who had contracted the virus and stopped breathing.
Officers Richard DuChaine and Charles Owen responded to the home of Tajanea Allen, who had called 911 when she discovered that her 1-month-old baby, Kamiyah, had stopped breathing.
“The baby was so small, she looked like a doll,” Owen told Today. DuChaine added, “It’s definitely a scary moment.”
Body cameras worn by the two officers show them performing CPR on Kamiyah’s tiny body. DuChaine performed chest compressions and back thrusts for more than 30 seconds—the terrifying video shows that the baby stayed unresponsive for that entire time before she miraculously started to breathe again.
Related: Amy Schumer’s son hospitalized for RSV: ‘This was the hardest week of my life’
You can hear the absolute relief in the officers’ voices as one of them is caught on camera saying, “She’s breathing now. She is breathing.”
Kamiyah was transported to a local hospital, where she had to stay for almost an entire week while she recovered from her RSV infection.
RSV is a contagious respiratory virus that causes cold-like symptoms. For most people, catching RSV is a nuisance that brings mild symptoms that typically last for a week or two. But the disease can be extremely serious in infants, young children, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.
Related: Pfizer’s RSV vaccine for pregnancy can protect newborns against severe illness
With the COVID-19 pandemic still going on, the U.S. is also seeing a surge in RSV cases, especially among very small children. Experts believe that lockdowns over the course of the pandemic prevented RSV from spreading like it normally would, and now many young children don’t have any immunity to the virus. Nearly half of U.S. states are reporting that their pediatric hospital beds are more than 80 percent full—almost all of them with kids suffering from severe cases of RSV.
To help prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed, the CDC urges parents to vaccinate their kids and themselves against the flu and COVID-19 (including the new bivalent boosters, for anyone who is eligible). If kids show signs of illness, keep them at home. And try to quarantine infants and young children from sick family members, especially if RSV is suspected.