How many children have died from the Omicron covid-19 variant?
Do children face a greater risk of severe infection to the Omicron variant? Is a question on the mind of many parents as their children head back to school
As children return to school with cases surging, many districts are struggling to find substitute teachers, and some have even decided to move classes online. Although children have typically fair better against the virus, with such a high level of transmission many children are testing positive, even if their case may be asymptomatic.
This has led to a record-breaking increase in pediatric hospitalizations, especially among young and unvaccinated children. Hospitalizations are increasing, and many doctors are reporting that the majority of children are unvaccinated. Additionally, the vast majority in some areas have co-morbidities, that make them more vulnerable to the covid-19.
What percent of children are vaccinated?
Around 824 children are being hospitalized each day in the US, up around 62 percent from last week. For children under five, who are not able to get the vaccine, the rate of hospitalization is double what it was a month ago, a real concern for the CDC who has cut isolation requirements in recent days. Georgia is one of more than twenty states that have over eight percent of their hospitalization beds filled. When looking at pediatric hospitalizations, the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta system had twenty-two children with covid under their care, and on 5 January that number was 118.
Deaths are not reported by variant strain and thus knowing the number of fatalities in children from Omicron is not possible. Since 11 December, tragically nine deaths have been reported among people younger than fifteen.
CDC report shows an increased risk for diabetes for children who have covid-19
The CDC published a report on 8 January that outlines a link between diabetes and covid-19 in children. Researchers found that children who had been diagnosed with covid were 166 percent more likely to later be diagnosed with diabetes. A similar trend has been found in adults and some scientists believe it could be caused by the way the virus attacks a person's organs, in this case, the pancreas. Much more research is needed to determine the cause and identify ways to protect children moving forward.
This research does highlight a risk that while children may not suffer severe symptoms or require hospitalization at the rates adults do, there could still be long-term damage to their health. Researchers also noted that they do not yet know if the condition will be reversible or not. One author on the paper Dr. Sharon Saydah, told the New York Times that these findings highlight the urgency in getting children vaccinated. Dr. Saydah also noted that parents should be aware of the symptoms of diabetes which include "Increased thirst, frequent urination, unintentional weight loss," to be able to get their children diagnosed if they present.