Children have largely been spared the worst of Covid-19 – hospitalizations and deaths are rarer for children than adults – although recently children’s hospitals have filled up in Covid-19 hotspots across the country .
During the two-week period from mid-August to the end of August, emergency room visits were 3.4 times higher in states with the lowest vaccination rates and hospitalizations were 3.7 times higher than in states with the highest vaccination rates. The states with the lowest immunization coverage were in the south.
“Large-scale, community-wide immunization of all eligible people is an essential part of mitigation strategies to protect pediatric populations from SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe COVID- 19, ”the CDC-led team wrote.
The team found that hospitalization rates had quintupled among children and adolescents and were rising rapidly from late June to mid-August, coinciding with the spread of the more contagious Delta variant in the United States.
The hospitalization rate of unvaccinated adolescents was 10 times higher than that of vaccinated adolescents. Hospitalizations were highest among children under 4 and adolescents 12 to 17 years old.
One in four hospitalized children needed intensive care.
Since the data used for this study comes from the records of hospitalized children, it cannot show whether more children were hospitalized simply because they were exposed to more illnesses in their community, or if it was. because the Delta variant made the children sicker.
However, the study added: “The proportions of children and adolescents hospitalized with severe illness were similar before and during Delta’s dominance period.”
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky pointed to the studies during Thursday’s White House briefing on Covid-19, saying they show children do not contract more serious illness from the Delta variant. “And although we are seeing more cases in children, and more cases overall, these studies have shown that there is no increase in the severity of the disease in children. that, more children have Covid-19 because there is more disease in the community, “she said.
“What is clear from these data is that immunization coverage at the community level is protecting our children. As the number of Covid-19 cases increases in the community, the number of sick children, presenting to the emergency room and admitted to hospital will also increase. . “
That is why it is important to protect children. “Preventive measures to reduce transmission and serious consequences in children and adolescents are essential, including vaccination, universal masking in schools and masking by people aged 2 years and older in other public spaces interiors and daycares, ”the CDC-led researchers wrote. .