The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new data that attempted to show the number of young children who were taken to the hospital and then tested positive for COVID-19 spiked this past week, but something seems a little off when the data is more closely scrutinized.
The data in question seemed to also include children who were taken to the hospital for multiple other issues not related to COVID-19 and, as a result of their stay, went on to test positive for the coronavirus.
As reported by The New York Times, “The rise may at least be partly explained by the overall surge of Omicron cases, which affects all populations, as well as the spread of other respiratory infections. And officials said there was no sign of an increase in severe cases.”
just over four in 100,000 children aged four and below that were taken to the hospital tested positive for the virus as of the 1st of January, which is just about two times the previously reported rate from about a month prior, and just over three times the rate for the same period last year.
“By contrast, the rate of hospitalized 5- to 11-year-olds with Covid was 0.6 per 100,000, roughly the same figure reported over past many months,” reported the Times.
“The rise may be partly explained by the surge of Omicron cases, which affects all populations, and the spread of other respiratory infections,” highlighted the Times.
The news source then went on to note that there was concern that the new Omicron variant seems to impact younger children more severely than it does for older children and adults, but kids aged 0-4 are not yet supposed to be vaccinated, a fact that could quite possibly be the reason for these results. Despite this, however, roughly 16% of children aged 5-11 have been dosed with the vaccine, as reported by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The Times also stated, “Children infected with the variant are still at much less risk of becoming severely ill compared with adults, and even young children seem less likely to need ventilators than those admitted during previous surges, doctors said.”
“We have not yet seen a signal that there is any increased severity in this age demographic,” claimed Walensky to the press during a briefing this past Friday. She then highlighted similar concerns about the previous Delta variant had been discovered to be entirely baseless.
“Sadly, we are seeing the rates of hospitalizations increasing for children 0 to 4, who are not yet currently eligible for Covid-19 vaccination,” she claimed. “It’s critically important that we surround them with people who are vaccinated to provide them protection.”
When looking at previous variants, the spikes in children being hospitalized was a concern, but one that resulted in the realization that the spike was only due to how contagious the variants were. Omicron is spreading like wildfire across all demographics. The Times also brought to light how the U.S. “is now recording roughly 600,000 cases on average per day, about one in five of them in children.”
“The more kids that get infected, the more you’re going to have kids who are going to be sick enough to be hospitalized,” claimed the chair of the committee on infectious diseases at the American Academy of Pediatrics and a physician at Stanford University, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, reported the outlet.
Small children are normally believed to be far more susceptible to “infections in the upper airway — exactly where Omicron is thought to be more concentrated in comparison with other variants,” stated the Times.
“They’re smaller, their airways are smaller,” claimed Dr. Kristin Oliver, a pediatrician at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, of young children.
“It does seem reasonable in a disease that if it looks like it’s affecting the upper airway more, that they would be more impacted,” she stated, reported the news source. “They are more at risk for that — for longer, prolonged cases, as well as the hospitalization that can come along with a more severe case.”
The Times stated:
The C.D.C.’s new data were collected by Covid-Net, the agency’s hospitalization surveillance network, which includes 14 sites and covers about 10 percent of the U.S. population. The rates are likely to be underestimates because of the lack of availability of tests, according to the agency.
Most of the children who end up severely ill from the coronavirus reportedly also had some sort of pre-existing condition such as a weakened immune system.
The Times added to this:
As of Oct. 31, about one in three children hospitalized with Covid was obese. Still, about half had no other known medical conditions, according to data collected by the C.D.C.