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Covid-19 Hospitalizations Among Children in the United States Are on the Rise, Raising New Questions About Omicron.

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NEW YORK, Dec. 30 – A new wave of COVID-19 hospitalizations among children in the United States has been sparked by the Omicron variant in the last few weeks, raising questions about the health of the country’s many unvaccinated minors.

Between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27, the average number of daily hospitalizations for children in the United States rose by more than 58 percent to 334, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This compares to around 19 percent for all age groups. According to the CDC, only about a quarter of the nation’s 74 million children under the age of 18 have received a childhood vaccine.

Experts warn that when schools reopen next week after the winter break, the number of Omicron cases will likely soar even higher across the country.

Even if Omicron causes more severe illness in children than other coronavirus variants, doctors say it is too early to tell if it is a factor in the increased hospitalizations.

“More people will get sick from it, and already more people are getting sick from it. We’ve seen an increase in the number of children being admitted to the hospital, “Dr. Jennifer Nayak, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, agreed.

When it comes to vaccinations, “what we’re seeing is that children under the age of five continue to be unvaccinated, so there’s still a relatively large population of naive children, so they have no preexisting immunity to this virus,” Nayak said.

Covid-19 Hospitalizations Among Children in the United States Are on the Rise, Raising New Questions About Omicron.

New York City’s health data shows that only about 40% of 5- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated compared to more than 80% of adults, which is a stark contrast to national vaccination rates. A vaccine for children under the age of five is not authorized in the United States.

There were 109 hospitalizations for people under the age of 18 in New York City between Dec. 19 and 23, up from 22 between Dec. 5 and Dec. 19. Nearly half of the cases involved children under the age of five. From Dec. 19 to Dec. 23, there were 184 hospitalizations of people under the age of 18 in the entire state, an increase from 70 from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11.

There has been an increase in the number of cases among children in other parts of the United States. According to data from the Ohio Hospital Association, there has been a 125 percent increase in hospitalizations for children under the age of 17 in the last four weeks.

Over the past week, CDC data shows that the average daily hospitalization of underage patients with the coronavirus in Florida, New Jersey, and Illinois has increased by at least double.

LOW TAKE-UP

Vaccination rates among young children are significantly lower than those among other age groups, in part because some families are reluctant to administer a new vaccine to their children.

According to federal data, fewer than 15% of U.S. children aged 5-11 have received the full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since it was authorized for that age group in late October by Pfizer Inc. (PFE.N) and BioNTech.

COVID-19 symptoms that are more severe this month include difficulty breathing, high fever, and dehydration in hospitalized children.

“They’re having trouble breathing, they’re having trouble getting enough oxygen, and they’re dehydrated. They’re sick enough to require hospitalization, which is terrifying for both the doctors treating them and the parents who bring them in “According to pediatric infectious disease specialist Rebecca Madan, a member of the Langone Health medical staff affiliated with New York University.

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As schools were closed for the winter break, there was an increase in the number of cases. According to data from the city of New York, over a thousand classrooms were either completely or partially quarantined because of outbreaks before the break. Schools in the city of New York will reopen on Jan. 3 as scheduled, following the district’s winter recess.

COVID-19 transmission among children occurs most frequently outside of schools, according to research. A new spike in cases among children from holiday gatherings is expected by Madan and others, which could disrupt school attendance.

According to William Schaffner, a leading infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University, “The virus has just outsmarted, penetrated beyond, what it is the parents have done to shelter those children.”

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