US experts argue that there is no strong evidence that the delta variant makes children and adolescents sicker than the previous variants. This is despite the fact that delta has led to an increase in infections among children because it is more contagious.
Dr. saids Juan Dumois, MD, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in Saint Petersburg, Florida.
In early September, the number of infections among American children exceeded 250,000 a week, more than the peak last winter, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 5 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19.
Mostly mild infections
The delta variant has been identified in at least 180 countries, according to the World Health Organization. In many of them, a significant increase in injuries has also led to an increase in hospitalizations among children and adolescents.
The numbers may give the impression that children are getting worse with the delta variant, but experts say this does not appear to be the case. Most children who get the delta variant have mild or no symptoms and do not need to be hospitalized.
In the United States, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 was less than 2 per 100,000 children in late August and early September, similar to last winter’s peak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But the proportion of children hospitalized with a serious illness has not changed much.
COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide protection against the delta variant. Among children age 12 and older — who were eligible for the vaccination — the weekly hospitalization rate in July was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than for those who were vaccinated, according to CDC data.
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