According to review of Department of Health and Human Services data, children hospitalized with Covid-19 increased by 52% in the last four weeks, from 1,270 on November 29 to 1,933 on Sunday.
Adult Covid hospitalizations climbed by 29% during the same period, implying that pediatric hospitalizations grew at nearly twice the rate.
According to the information presented, the number of children hospitalized with Covid has more than doubled in ten states and Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The information does not indicate whether the youngsters had been immunized or were vaccine-eligible.
On the other hand, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Ohio have contributed the most to the rise in pediatric hospitalizations.
On Tuesday, a vaccination expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia expressed that the spike was likely unavoidable due to the onset of winter and the transmissibility of the omicron form.
“I think you were going to see an upsurge anyhow,” said Offit, the director of the hospital’s Vaccine Education Center. “It’s winter, and this omicron is very contagious, so I think you were going to see an accumulation anyway.”
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However, he noted that many children at his institution had tested positive for Covid without exhibiting any symptoms or becoming ill.
“We screen anybody who is admitted to the hospital for whatever reason to check if they have Covid, and we see a significant increase in instances. However, we aren’t witnessing a rise in the number of children who are hospitalized or admitted to the intensive care unit due to Covid”, Offit remarked.
Patients are considered as having Covid if they are suspected of having or laboratory-confirmed positive for the condition, even if they were not admitted to the hospital for that reason, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
The contagiousness of omicron serves as the latest reminder that children are not immune to Covid, according to Dr. Buddy Creech, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
“When the delta variant came up, we noticed similar problems,” he said. “We assumed that children were unaffected by Covid, but we noticed an increase in the number of kids who were infected and were admitted to the hospital with difficulties.”
Physicians find that the omicron variant replicates considerably better in the nose and upper airways than prior forms, so parents should be on the lookout for symptoms like a scratchy throat or a runny nose.
“We may see more of the basic respiratory sickness,” Creech added, referring to viruses like influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV.
In comparison to adult Covid cases, pediatric Covid cases are often mild. However, children can develop major consequences, such as protracted Covid and MIS-C, an inflammatory condition that affects several organs. Children between 5 and 11 are the most likely to get the syndrome.
New York has witnessed a particularly noticeable surge recently, putting many parents on high alert.
As omicron spreads, New York City schools are increasing up Covid testing.
On Christmas Eve, the Department of Health of New York State warned clinicians about an “upward trend” in pediatric hospitalizations.
As per notification, surge was focused in New York City and was based on data collected between December 5 and the week of December 19.
The letter did not say how many children were admitted to hospitals, but it did say that admissions in New York City increased “fourfold” during that period in December.
During that time, half of the children admitted to hospitals were under 5, indicating that they were not eligible for the Covid vaccine.