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Preliminary CDC reports gives glimpse at COVID-19 hospitalizations for kids under age 5

The CDC released a preliminary report on children and COVID-19 hospitalizations showing the Omicron variant hit the 0-4 age range especially hard.
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:11 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2022 at 6:34 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The CDC released a preliminary report on children and COVID-19 hospitalizations showing the Omicron variant hit the 0-4 age range especially hard.

The report looks at numbers from March 2020 through the end of January 2022 pertaining to kids four years old and younger.

The data compiled through COVID-NET, an associated hospitalization surveillance network, shows hospital stays for children under age five soared with the Omicron variant compared to Delta. However, the numbers were still far lower compared to adults.

“People in older adult age groups represented a more significant share of hospitalizations for COVID during that period than did patients we would define as the pediatric category,” said Julian Walker, spokesman for the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association.

That is something seen not only in Virginia but nationwide.

However, the CDC’s report shows between Dec. 19, 2021 and Jan. 8, 2022 (part of the Omicron peak), COVID-19 hospitalizations among kids under five were 5 times as high compared to the Delta-peak.

“This wasn’t too surprising given the transmission rates and hospitalizations in the general public, to see similar things happening in the children under age five group,” said Emily Rich, an Epidemiologist at the Richmond Henrico Health District.

However, it’s important to note the data was gathered from hospitalizations in 99 counties across 14 states - Virginia was not one of them.

Looking at data provided by the Virginia Department of Health, which is logged differently, showed a similar spike in hospitalizations among kids ages nine and under within the last 13 weeks.

“With children specifically, it is important to note that those severe outcomes are still rare, and children do tend to recover well from COVID-19,” Rich said.

Overall, Virginia kids under nine make up less than 2% of the overall COVID-19 hospitalizations.

“Keep things in perspective, and the perspective is there have been five different surges in this pandemic,” Walker said. “At each one, we saw an increase in hospitalizations.”

Doctors say it is important for kids to get vaccinated if they are eligible, and if they are not there is something that can be done.

“It’s really important that the people around them that are eligible to get vaccinated - get vaccinated and boosted if they’re not boosted,” Rich said.

The study also found children averaged two days in the hospital with the Delta variant versus 1.5 days with Omicron.

To learn more about this report, click here.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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