News from the FDA/CDC

Children and COVID: New cases increase for second straight week


New COVID-19 cases rose among U.S. children for the second consecutive week, while hospitals saw signs of renewed activity on the part of SARS-CoV-2.

The total for new cases reported during the week of Oct. 28 to Nov. 3, while still low at just under 30,000, was 21% higher than the previous week and 31% higher than 2 weeks ago (Oct. 14-20), when the count fell to its lowest level in more than a year, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said in their joint report.

Number of weekly COVID-19 cases reported in children, United States
Meanwhile, the trajectories of both emergency department visits and new hospital admissions involving COVID seem to suggest a change in direction after several weeks of declines, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 7-day average for ED visits with diagnosed COVID was down to just 0.6% of all ED visits for 12- to 15-year-olds as late as Oct. 23 but has moved up to 0.7% since then. Among those aged 16-17 years, the 7-day average was also down to 0.6% for just one day, Oct. 19, but was up to 0.8% as of Nov. 4. So far, though, a similar increase has not yet occurred for ED visits among children aged 0-11 years, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

The trend is discernible, however, when looking at hospitalizations of children with confirmed COVID. The rate of new admissions of children aged 0-17 years was 0.16 per 100,000 population as late as Oct. 23 but ticked up a notch after that and has been 0.17 per 100,000 since, according to the CDC. As with the ED rate, hospitalizations had been steadily declining since late August.

Vaccine initiation continues to slow

During the week of Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, about 30,000 children under 5 years of age received their initial COVID vaccination. A month earlier (Sept. 29 to Oct. 5), that number was about 40,000. A month before that, about 53,000 children aged 0-5 years received their initial dose, the AAP said in a separate vaccination report based on CDC data.

All of that reduced interest adds up to 7.4% of the age group having received at least one dose and just 3.2% being fully vaccinated as of Nov. 2. Among children aged 5-11 years, the corresponding vaccination rates are 38.9% and 31.8%, while those aged 12-17 years are at 71.3% and 61.1%, the CDC said.

Looking at just the first 20 weeks of the vaccination experience for each age group shows that 1.6 million children under 5 years of age had received at least an initial dose, compared with 8.1 million children aged 5-11 years and 8.1 million children aged 12-15, the AAP said.

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