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The Omicron surge accelerated as weekly cases of COVID-19 in children reached 580,000 for the first week of 2022, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The total for the week of Dec. 31 to Jan. 6 — the highest since the pandemic began — was an increase of 78% over the previous week (325,000) and 192% higher than just 2 weeks before (199,000), the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report. No region of the country was spared, as all four saw at least 50,000 more cases than the week before, but the increase was largest in the West and smallest in the Midwest.
“Nearly 8.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic; nearly 11% of these cases have been added in the past 2 weeks,” the AAP said.
The situation is the same for hospitalizations. On Dec. 15, the daily rate of new admissions for children aged 0-17 years was 0.26 per 100,000, and by Jan. 7 it had more than quadrupled to 1.15 per 100,000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Before Omicron, the highest rate was 0.47 per 100,000 on Sept. 4, 2021.
The number of children occupying inpatient beds who had laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 went from 2,343 on Jan. 2 to 3,476 on Jan. 9, a jump of more than 48% in just 1 week. Texas had more hospitalized children (392) than any other state on Jan. 9, with California (339) and New York (313) the only other states over 300, according to data from the US Department of Health & Human Services.
For vaccinations, however, the situation is definitely not the same. The number of children added to the ranks of those with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine was down in early 2022 (Jan. 3-9) for both 5- to 11-year-olds (–8.2%) and 16- to 17-year-olds (–12.2%) but higher among those aged 12-15 years (12.2%), compared with the previous week (Dec. 27 to Jan. 2), the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.
Cumulative figures show that 26.3% of all children aged 5-11 had received at least one dose of vaccine and 17.2% were fully vaccinated as of Jan. 10, compared with 62.2% and 52.0% of 12- to 15-year-olds and 68.5% and 58.1% of those aged 16-17. Altogether, over 23.8 million children in those three age groups have received at least one dose, and almost 18.6 million are fully vaccinated, the CDC said.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.