Covid’s new pediatric hospitals have reached a record high in the United States, as children are increasingly being swept away by Omicron’s lightning strike.
Although experts are concerned, and emphasize the need to increase immunizations among children, early indications are that a higher rate of disease may be low, and its prevalence is likely to increase rapidly.
Raw data can also be triggered by accidental infection which is not a major cause of hospitalization.
The numbers are jumping
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 199,000 children were reported to be infected with Covid-19 in the week ending December 23, last week where the data is currently available, and a 50 percent increase in numbers earlier this month.
The seven-day Covid hospital admission for people aged 0-17 years was 378 in the week ending December 28, an increase of 66.1 percent last week and the highest ever, surpassing the highest rate observed during the Delta wave in September. 1, with official data.
The only age group when hospitalization reached a new peak for 18-29 year olds.
The levels of serious illness remain very low in terms of absolute status compared to groups of adults.
A total of 803 people aged 0-18 from Covid in the US, more than 820,000, have died since the outbreak began.
An earlier Hong Kong study based on tests with a tissue sample lab showed that Omicron was 70 times faster in the bronchi, the airways leading to the lungs, compared to Delta, which could help explain its extreme prevalence in the entire population.
“I think right now, it’s a game of numbers,” Jim Versalovic, a pathologist and orthopedic surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital, the largest children’s hospital in the United States, told AFP.
“Based on what we have collected today, Omicron does not cause the worst cases, but it does infect more children. So we are seeing more children hospitalized with Covid,” he added.
If so, there seems to be a large portion of soft child cases linked to Omicron – similar to what has been seen in adults, he added.
Its relative mildness can be explained by a similar Hong Kong study that showed that Omicron was ten times more likely to develop lung cancer compared to Delta, and a hamster study from the University of Tokyo proved this.
But “even if you have a small number of children who may have a serious illness, a small portion of a large number are a large number,” Henry Bernstein, a pediatrician at Northwell Health Hospital in New York, told AFP.
As to why the rate of cases, as well as hospitalization, is rising sharply in smaller groups compared to adults, there are a few potential factors to play.
President Joe Biden’s senior medical adviser Anthony Fauci told reporters this week that “many children have been hospitalized with Covid instead of Covid.”
In other words, as hospitals regularly test Covid for everyone who receives it, they become infected with coronavirus.
The immunization rate is also very low for children aged 5-11, who were the last eligible group, in November.
According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 15 percent of the group is fully vaccinated, compared to 84 percent of people 12 years of age and older.
Vaccination is highly recommended
The message to take home to parents, according to Versalovic, “is not the time to waste on getting a vaccine” – and that goes to the whole family, including adults, who can spread the disease to their children, adds Bernstein.
In fact, a young Versalovic hospital who is in the hospital saw “almost not only vaccinated.”
The case of immunization of young children was reinforced by a new CDC report on Thursday which found that side effects were very rare in 5-11 year olds. Horrible cases of inflammation occur much less frequently than in men ages 12-29.
Only newborns aged 0-5 years remain eligible for immunizations, which are expected to be approved in the coming months.
Versalovic added that there is reason to hope that the spike may fall sharply in the coming weeks, as seen in southern Africa.