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Omicron waves lead to new highs for inpatient children with Covid-19

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Omicron is pushing Covid-19 hospitalization to record levels among children, according to doctors in the United States and the United Kingdom. Variant infectivityProbably most of the cause, not increased severity.

Throughout the pandemic, children are much less likely to get a serious Covid-19 illness than adults, and doctors say this seems to be the case for Omicron as well. However, the very high number of cases means that more children will be hospitalized for both Covid-19 and illness. Probably a milder variant You can do more damage just by infecting more people.

In the United Kingdom, 576 children under the age of 5 were admitted to the hospital on Covid-19 in the week leading up to January 9, well above the previous peak of about 160 in August.Isolate data from studies that closely track hospitalizations from about half UK hospital, Indicates that the rise is being driven by Under One. Admission is also high for 6 to 17 years old. In contrast, adult Covid-19 hospitalizations are still well below the initial wave peak, largely due to vaccination.

These numbers look alarming, but doctors say so far there are no clear signs that Omicron is afflicting children more than previous variants. It is likely that an unprecedented number of infections across the country are contributing to this pattern, more often due to respiratory illnesses that are common in winter when entering the hospital. It means that the child will be infected. In other words, the proportion of children admitted to the hospital with Covid-19, not because of illness, can be significantly higher than that of adults.

Hospitals in the United States are having a hard time staffing medical facilities as the wave of Covid-19 cases is on the sidelines of healthcare workers. Some hospital managers are forced to resort to last resort to ensure the quality of care. Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP / Getty Images

The Covid-19 hospitalization rate for children under the age of 5 is about 15 per 100,000 in the week leading up to January 9, still higher than 17 adults per 100,000 between the ages of 18 and 64. It is low. 179 per 100,000 people aged 85 and over.

But the numbers don’t say much about how responsible Covid-19 is for sending children to the hospital. They include people who have a positive virus test before or after admission, mainly for other reasons (such as a broken leg). It also includes people in the hospital due to other infections or illnesses that Covid-19 may have been involved in.

The Covid-19 vaccine is not regularly provided to children under the age of 12 in the UK, but doctors say it is unclear if this will play an important role.

“It would be pretty surprising if we didn’t see many hospitalizations for infectious diseases,” said Adam Finn, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Bristol. “The tricky bit is trying to figure out how much the infection actually contributes to why the child is hospitalized,” he added. “It has been cut and not dried.”

According to doctors, an increasing number of children are being treated primarily with Covid-19, but given the sheer number of infections caused by Omicron, this is nothing more than expected. According to other data, the overall number of cases under the age of 4 in the UK has quadrupled since the beginning of November.

And Omicron does not appear to have led to a surge in the most serious cases among children. According to data from the UK Health Security Agency, admissions to intensive care units under the age of 4 did not increase significantly in December, even though the group’s admissions quadrupled.

“These aren’t particularly sick infants,” said Calum Temple, a professor of child health and developmental medicine at the University of Liverpool, one of the researchers in the inpatient study. He said they were hospitalized for a shorter period of time on this wave and needed less oxygen than the previous virus surge. He added that the rate of ICU slowed down over time and the number of ventilators was incredibly low and continued to decline.

A 15-year-old child was vaccinated with the Covid-19 vaccine in Glasgow.


Photo:

Jane Barlow / Zuma Press

Edward Dallas, a pediatrician in the emergency room of a hospital in London, said the wave was probably seeing more Covid-19 children than at any time in the pandemic, which Omicron had children. I didn’t think it was because it was affecting more children, and it was terribly affecting more children.

He added that the most common symptoms of Omicron infection in children appeared to be runny nose and cough, but it usually did not cause lung infection.

“This is just a number game,” said Chethan Sathya, a pediatric surgeon at the Cohen Pediatric Surgeon at Northwell Health’s Cohen Pediatric Medical Center in New York. “Looking at the positive rate, they are going through the roof.”

Another complex factor is that during the winter it is common for infants to go to the hospital for respiratory illness and be positive for several different viruses, which is the root cause. Is to make it impossible to identify.

Ronny Cheung, a pediatrician at a hospital in London, said: “Anyone who wants to say [the illness] Because Covid or another respiratory infection is making up for it on the go. “

School staff in Halifax, Northern England, handle Covid-19 rapid diagnostics.


Photo:

oli scarff / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Infant hospitalization can move in step with the background infection rate, especially due to the low hospitalization threshold for very young children. For example, a child under 6 months of age who arrives at the hospital with a fever is usually hospitalized for routine examination and monitoring as a precautionary measure. Hospitalization studies have shown that in the last four weeks, infants have accounted for a large proportion of pediatric hospitalizations, increasing from about 30% to about 42% of delta waves.

Damian Roland, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “It doesn’t necessarily mean that Covid is worse or particularly harmful.”

“Like any other virus, as the virus grows, we’ll see more children coming in and exceed the threshold for hospitalization,” said Jane of the British Society of Pediatric Emergency Medicine.・ President Bay Reuters said. There was no increase in overall severity, she added.

Still, according to Chinese hospital respiratory and general pediatrician consultant Chinese du Nwokoro, it is premature to convey the full extent of the effects of the new variant on children.

“Omicron-sized brips” in all conditions associated with Covid-19 infection in children Long Covid-19 When Pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, Or MIS-C, a rare inflammatory condition that affects some children about six weeks after being infected with the virus, “will be a problem in itself,” Dr. Nwokoro said.

“Given the [MIS-C cases] It tends to develop weeks after the initial infection, but we are preparing for a bigger rise in the coming weeks, “says Dr. Cheung. “The question is, does Omicron do something different?”

Analyzing the health records of more than 14,000 children under the age of five in the United States and comparing Omicron-infected children with Delta-infected children, the new variants could have serious consequences. It turned out to be low. This study by researchers at the Artificial Intelligence Center in Cleveland’s drug discovery has not been peer-reviewed.

At Advocate Children’s Hospital, which lacks two sites near Chicago, Covid-19-related hospitalizations have more than tripled in the 30 days to January 6, said Frank Belmonte, Chief Medical Officer. increase. He added that an average of about a quarter of patients arrive in the pediatric intensive care unit each day, up from an average of about 10% in previous waves.

According to Nekaiya Jacobs, a pediatric emergency physician at the hospital, some children in Advocate’s intensive care unit did not have prior risk factors for Covid-19. “Covid is always calm in children and teenagers, or there is a continuing misconception that children don’t get sick,” she said.

Write in Denis Loland [email protected] And in Joanna Sagden [email protected]

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