The number of Covid-19-related hospitalizations among adolescents in the United States was nearly three times higher than influenza-associated hospitalizations in the most recent three flu seasons. published a study on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings contrast claims that influenza poses a greater threat to children than COVID-19, an argument that has been used to reopen schools, and to question the value of vaccinating adolescents against the coronavirus. Has been done.
“This suffering is preventable,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Valensky said in a statement. “Vaccination is our way out of this pandemic.”
Children have a much lower risk of COVID-19 than adults, but their chances of infection and serious illness increase with age. Since the start of the pandemic, the hospitalization rate among 12 to 17-year-olds was 12.5 times lower than in adults. But according to the new report, the rate was higher than the rate seen in children ages 5 to 11.
Researchers looked at Covid-19 hospitalizations among children aged 12 to 17 years from March 1, 2020 to April 24, 2021. The data came from Covid-Net, a population-based surveillance system in 14 states that covers about 10 percent of Americans.
The number of adolescents hospitalized for Covid-19 declined in January and February this year, but increased again in March and April. Between January 1, 2021 and March 31, 2021, 204 adolescents were likely to be hospitalized primarily due to COVID-19. Most of the children had at least one underlying medical condition, such as obesity, asthma or neurological disorders.
No children died, but about one-third were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 5 percent required invasive mechanical ventilation. Roughly two-thirds of hospitalized adolescents were black or Hispanic, indicating a greater risk posed by the virus to these populations.
The researchers compared the number of Covid-19 hospitalizations for the flu with those in the same age group during the 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 flu seasons. From October 1, 2020 to April 24, 2021, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 among adolescents was 2.5 to 3.0 times higher than for seasonal flu in previous years.
The rate could increase this spring due to more infectious forms of the coronavirus in circulation, as well as school reopenings that bring children indoors, and precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing, researchers said. follows.
The data lends immediate credit to the campaign to vaccinate more teens, said Dr. Valensky, who said she was “deeply intrigued” by the numbers.