COVID Hospitalization Rate for American Children Soars, But Vaccination Makes the Difference
Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations have skyrocketed in the US over the summer as the highly contagious delta variant spread across the country, according to two new studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From late June to mid-August, hospitalization rates in the United States for children and adolescents increased nearly five times, although they remain slightly below the January peak, a new study found.
But vaccination has made a difference. During the wave this summer, the hospitalization rate was 10 times higher in unvaccinated teens than in those who were vaccinated, the researchers found. Pediatric hospital admissions were nearly four times higher in the states with the lowest vaccination rates than in those with the highest rates, according to a second study.
The studies, published Friday, do not provide clear answers on whether the Delta variant causes more serious illness in children than previous versions of the virus. The increase in pediatric hospitalizations could also be due to the high infectivity of the variant.
In fact, one study concluded that the proportion of children hospitalized with severe illness had not changed at the end of June and July, when the delta variant became dominant in the United States.
The rates reported in the CDC studies are based on data from two national surveillance systems, including hospitals in 49 states and Washington, DC.
In a CDC study, researchers found that since July, the rate of new coronavirus cases has increased for children 17 and younger, as have COVID-related emergency room visits and hospital admissions. 19.
The New York Times