Pediatric Hospitalizations Up In New York City 395% Amid Coronavirus Surge

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New York State reported a “striking increase” in new hospital admissions for children as pediatric COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. continue to rise week after week.

The New York State Department of Health said the recent fourfold increase in admissions that began the week of December 5 is concentrated in New York City and the surrounding area, where the highly contagious omicron variant was spreading rapidly.

“The risks of COVID-19 for children are real,” acting State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. “We are alerting New Yorkers to this recent striking increase in pediatric COVID-19 admissions so that pediatricians, parents and guardians can take urgent action to protect our youngest New Yorkers.”

Pediatric hospitalizations are up 395% in New York City since the week ending December 11, jumping from 22 to 109 the week ending December 23. Statewide pediatric hospitalizations jumped from 70 to 184.

The state’s trend is having a particularly disturbing impact on unvaccinated children — even as the state touts a high vaccination rate among adults. Of the 5- to 11-year-old children admitted to New York City hospitals with COVID from the week of December 5 until the current week, none were fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the number of kids hospitalized with the virus statewide has risen 2.5-fold, from 70 to 184, over the same period.

This as Hochul called on parents to use the winter break to vaccinate their kids, with only 16.4% of 5- to 11-year-olds in the state vaccinated.

“There’s just no reason. We have the supply. We have the capacity. We have the staff in place for every child to be vaccinated who is eligible,” Hochul said.

Hochule also said the state will distribute up to 3.5 million tests to schools this week to keep students in class amid the omicron spike

“We want to make sure these schools stay open,” when students return to classes next week by initiating a widespread “test to say” policy, Hochul said, adding that she would travel the state this week and return to Albany Friday afternoon for a New Year’s Eve news conference to prepare the state for what she called “winter surge 2.0.”

“If you are sniffling or not feeling good, just say home, watch the ball drop on TV, get a nice glass of champagne, and know you are doing the smart thing,” she said.

Dr Bassett assured that the number of children hospitalized is “still small” but said she is releasing the data to “motivate pediatricians and families to seek vaccinations for the unvaccinated child and their family.”

From December 9 to December 16, nearly 170,000 children in the U.S. tested positive for COVID-19, up about 28% in the last two weeks, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association released last Monday.

Children continue to account for about a quarter (23.7%) of reported weekly coronavirus cases in the U.S., according to the report. On average, nearly 200 children in the U.S. are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day, according to federal data.

Similar trends were reported overseas.

A December 23 U.K. analysis found that unvaccinated children ages 5 to 11 comprised the “highest prevalence” of positive COVID-19 tests by age group.

And preliminary data from South Africa estimates that children had a 20% higher risk of hospitalization in the country’s omicron-driven fourth wave, given the fact that so many children were still unvaccinated, and therefore, unprotected.

“If you have a child 5 to 11, please get that child vaccinated to prevent them from getting anything that even resembles a serious illness,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in a “Good Morning America” interview Monday.