News from the FDA/CDC

Children and COVID: Weekly cases continue to hold fairly steady


 

The incidence of new COVID-19 cases in children seems to have stabilized as the national count remained under 30,000 for the fifth consecutive week, but hospitalization data may indicate some possible turbulence.

Just over 28,000 pediatric cases were reported during the week of Nov. 4-10, a drop of 5.4% from the previous week, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said in their weekly COVID-19 report involving data from state and territorial health departments, several of which are no longer updating their websites.

Number of weekly COVID-19 cases reported in children, United States

The stability in weekly cases, however, comes in contrast to a very recent and considerable increase in new hospital admissions of children aged 0-17 years with confirmed COVID-19. That rate, which was 0.18 hospitalizations per 100,000 population on Nov. 7 and 0.19 per 100,000 on Nov. 8 and 9, jumped all the way to 0.34 on Nov. 10 and 0.48 on Nov. 11, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is the highest rate since the closing days of the Omicron surge in February.

The rate for Nov. 12, the most recent one available, was down slightly to 0.47 admissions per 100,000. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence in the CDC’s data of a similar sudden increase in new hospitalizations among any other age group, and no age group, including children, shows any sign of a recent increase in emergency department visits with diagnosed COVID. (The CDC has not yet responded to our inquiry about this development.)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The recent spike in admissions can be seen at the far right.

The two most recent 7-day averages for new admissions in children aged 0-17 show a small increase, but they cover the periods of Oct. 15 to Oct. 31, when there were 126 admissions per day, and Nov. 1 to Nov. 7, when the average went up to 133 per day, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

The CDC does not publish a weekly count of new COVID cases, but its latest data on the rate of incident cases seem to agree with the AAP/CHA figures: A gradual decline in all age groups, including children, since the beginning of September.

Vaccinations, on the other hand, bucked their recent trend and increased in the last week. About 43,000 children under age 5 years received their initial dose of COVID vaccine during Nov. 3-9, compared with 30,000 and 33,000 the 2 previous weeks, while 5- to 11-year-olds hit their highest weekly mark (31,000) since late August and 12- to 17-year-olds had their biggest week (27,000) since mid-August, the AAP reported based on CDC data.

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