Hospitalizations of young children with the virus surged during the U.S. Omicron wave.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, infants and children under 5 years of age were hospitalized with coronavirus much more frequently during the latest U.S. spikewhen. Hospitalizations for these children were about five times higher during the Omicron surge, December 19 to February 19, than during the delta-dominated period, June 27 to December 18. ICU admissions also skyrocketed among young children, peaking on January 8 this year. The highly contagious Omicron variant dominated compared to earlier periods of the pandemic. Only one-third of the children were white, 28 percent were Hispanic, and 23 percent were black. Hispanics make up just 18 percent of the population, while black Americans make up 13 percent.

(Six percent of these hospitalizations were among children from Asian or other Pacific Islanders. About the same as their representation in the population.)

Experts say children of color are standing contaminated more often because their parents are more likely to work in public works and are more likely to live in poverty and multi-generational households.

While hospitalization rates for young children are always rather low rates among older Americans, the virus poses a risk to the youngest children, especially infants.

Infants six months of age and younger were the most vulnerable. They accounted for almost half of hospital admissions among young children during the Omicron period. They were hospitalized about six times more often than at the peak of the Omicron wave compared to the rise of the Delta wave. According to the CDC, two babies have died.

Over 1000 children under 18

“People should be aware that there are some pretty serious risks for babies under one year old, especially during surges. They may want to take extra precautions to reduce exposure,” said Julia Reifman, assistant medical law, policy, and management professor. At Boston University. School of Public Health, which did not participate in the study. The CDC study found that most hospitalized children and infants – about two-thirds – were healthy and free of underlying medical conditions, as has been the case throughout the pandemic. Over 1000 children under 18 have died from Covid since the beginning of the pandemicincluding 350 children under the age of 5. But experts also worry about the long-term consequences and a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a rare but severe condition.

Public health experts strongly urge everyone who has regular contact with young children to exist vaccinated. No Covid vaccines are now let in the United States for children under 5. And the regulatory process has been fraught with delays and setbacks.

 Everyone aged five years and older, including pregnant women, family members, and caregivers, should get their Covid-19 vaccines up to date,” says Dr. Christine J. Marks, first the author of the study.  An employee of the CDC epidemic intelligence service in an email.

The study, released March 15, looked at hospitalizations of children in counties in 14 states that comprise about 10 percent of the U.S. population.

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