Children and COVID: The Omicron Surge Has Become a Retreat

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The Omicron decline continued for a fourth consecutive week as new cases of COVID-19 in children fell by 42% from the week before, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

That 42% represents a drop from the 299,000 new cases reported for Feb. 4-10 down to 174,000 for the most recent week, Feb. 11-17. In the last 4 weeks, the United States has seen new child cases drop 85% from a pandemic-high 1.15 million in mid-January, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report.



 

The overall count of COVID-19 cases in children is 12.5 million over the course of the pandemic, and that represents 19% of cases reported among all ages, the AAP and CHA said based on data collected from 49 states (excluding New York), the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Hospital admissions also continued to fall, with the rate for children aged 0-17 at 0.43 per 100,000 population as of Feb. 20, down by almost 66% from the peak of 1.25 per 100,000 reached on Jan. 16, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

A snapshot of the hospitalization situation shows that 1,687 children were occupying inpatient beds on Feb. 16, compared with 4,070 on Jan. 19, which appears to be the peak of the Omicron surge, according to data from the Department of Health & Human Services.

The state with the highest rate – 5.6 per 100,000 children – on Feb. 16 was North Dakota, although the District of Columbia came in at 11.0 per 100,000. They were followed by Oklahoma (5.3), Missouri (5.2), and West Virginia (4.1). There were three states – New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Utah – with no children in the hospital on that date, the HHS said.

New vaccinations in children aged 5-11 years, which declined in mid- and late January, even as Omicron surged, continued to decline, as did vaccine completions. Vaccinations also fell among children aged 12-17 for the latest reporting week, Feb. 10-16, the AAP said in a separate report.

As more states and school districts drop mask mandates, data from the CDC indicate that 32.5% of 5- to 11-year olds and 67.4% of 12- to 17-year-olds have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and that 25.1% and 57.3%, respectively, are fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, 20.5% of those fully vaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds have gotten a booster dose, the CDC said.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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