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Girl in hospital bed

COVID-19 hospital admissions rising among children, especially those under 5

December 8, 2022

Editor’s note: For the latest news on COVID-19, visit http://bit.ly/AAPNewsCOVID19.

In the past two months, the number of children with confirmed COVID-19 at hospital admission has increased substantially, with children under 5 years at highest risk. These findings come from an AAP analysis of data gathered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Recent analysis of the data shows the number of children with confirmed COVID-19 at hospital admission increased 68% over eight weeks — from 907 new admissions in the week ending Oct. 18 to 1,521 in the week ending Dec. 8 (see figure 1).

During this period, hospitalizations with COVID-19 increased for all children but especially for the youngest children. The number of new weekly COVID-19 admissions for children ages 0-4 years nearly doubled from 461 to 870 (see figure 2). While children ages 0-4 are one-quarter of the overall U.S. child population, they comprise two-thirds of recent COVID-19 hospital admissions.

“Right now, I think one of the most important things we can do especially as pediatric hospitals and parents are overwhelmed with this respiratory virus season is get children vaccinated for influenza and for COVID,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., said in a press conference this week.

The AAP analyzed data from HHS’ “COVID-19 Reported Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity by State Timeseries.”

Beginning in September 2020, HHS began requiring all U.S. hospitals to report weekly the number of patients admitted with confirmed and suspected COVID-19 infection by age group. Prior to February 2022, children were reported as one group, 0-17. Since February, HHS has required pediatric patients’ ages to be reported as 0-4, 5-11 or 12-17.

 

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