Worries Heightened As The Hospitalisation Surge Is Due To Children Contracting COVID In The US

Worries Heightened As The Hospitalisation Surge Is Due To Children Contracting COVID In The US
Source – NPR

Within weeks, the Omicron variant caused thousands of new COVID-19 hospitalisations among children in the United States, raising significant worries about how unvaccinated Americans under the age of 18 may perform during the current wave.


Worries Heightened As The Hospitalisation Surge Is Due To Children Contracting COVID In The US

Within weeks, the Omicron variant caused thousands of new COVID-19 hospitalisations among children in the United States, raising significant worries about how unvaccinated Americans under the age of 18 may perform during the current wave.

Between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27, the seven-day average number of daily hospitalisations for children increased by more than 58 percent to 334, compared to roughly 19 percent for all age groups, according to statistics from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the CDC, less than a quarter of the 74 million Americans under the age of 18 get vaccinated.

Researchers said that cases of Omicron are predicted to spread much rapidly throughout the United States next week when schools resume after the Christmas break.

Doctors note that although it is too early to know if Omicron causes more severe disease in children than other coronavirus variants, their extraordinarily high transmissibility is one element contributing to the increase in hospitalisations.

It is going to infect more people, and it is infecting more people. We’ve seen numbers go up, we’ve seen hospitalisations in kids go up," said Dr Jennifer Nayak, an infectious disease expert and paediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Centre.

What we are seeing is that children under five remain unvaccinated, so there’s still a relatively large population of children who are naive, so they have no preexisting immunity to this virus," said Nayak.

Source - The Star

Even in New York City, which has the best vaccination rates in the country, only about 40% of 5- to 17-year-olds are completely vaccinated, compared to more than 80% of adults, according to city health statistics. There is no vaccination approved for children under the age of five in the United States.

Hospitalisations of children and adolescents in New York City jumped from 22 the week of Dec. 5 to 109 between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23. Children under the age of five contributed to almost half of all cases. Hospital admissions of children and adolescents in the whole state were 184 between Dec. 19 and Dec. 23, up from 70 between Dec. 5 and Dec. 11.

Other regions of the United States also report an increase in child cases. According to the Ohio Hospital Association statistics, hospitalisation among adolescents 17 and under increased by 125 percent in the last four weeks.

According to CDC statistics, Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois have seen at least a doubling of the seven-day average daily hospitalisation rate for underage coronavirus patients during the last week.

Infants and toddlers have much lower vaccination rates than other age groups, with some families hesitant to administer new vaccines to their youngest members.

Fewer than 15% of children aged 5-11 in the United States have received all vaccines since Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccination was approved for that age range in late October, according to official statistics.

Doctors said that the more severe COVID-19 symptoms they are seeing this month in hospitalised children include trouble breathing, a high temperature, and dehydration.

They need help breathing, they need help getting oxygen, they need extra hydration. They are sick enough to end up in the hospital, and that’s scary for doctors, and it’s scary for parents," said Rebecca Madan, a paediatric infectious disease specialist at New York University’s Langone Health hospital system.

As schools halted for the winter vacations, a spike in cases occurred. According to New York City records, over a thousand classrooms were either completely or partly evacuated before the holiday due to breakouts. The city said it would open schools for about a million students on Jan. 3, after the district’s winter break.

According to research, a significant portion of COVID-19 transmission among adolescents occurs outside of classrooms. However, Madan and others anticipate a major surge in cases among adolescents as a result of holiday gatherings, which might interrupt students’ attendance in class.

The virus has just been able to outsmart, penetrate beyond, what it is the parents have done to shelter those children," said William Schaffner, a leading infectious disease expert from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Source – Reuters

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