(HealthDay News) — New COVID-19 cases, COVID-19-related emergency department visits, and COVID-19-associated hospitalizations have increased among children since the delta variant became the predominant strain of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in the United States, according to two studies published in the Sept. 3 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
David A. Siegel, M.D., from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues examined trends in new COVID-19 cases, COVID-19-related emergency department visits, and COVID-19-related hospital admissions in children during Aug. 1, 2020, to Aug. 27, 2021.
The researchers found that after the delta variant became the predominant circulating variant, since July 2021, there was an increase in the rate of new COVID-19 cases and COVID-19-related emergency department visits for those aged 0 to 4, 5 to 11, and 12 to 17 years, and in hospital admissions with confirmed COVID-19 for those aged 0 to 17 years.
In states with the lowest vaccination coverage, COVID-19-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions, respectively, were 3.4 and 3.7 times that seen in states with the highest coverage during Aug. 14 to 27, 2021.
Miranda J. Delahoy, Ph.D., also from the CDC COVID-19 Response Team, and colleagues described COVID-19-associated hospitalization among children aged 0 to 17 years.
The researchers found that per 100,000 children and adolescents, the weekly COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate was nearly five times higher for the week ending Aug. 14, 2021, versus June 26, 2021 (1.4 versus 0.3); among children aged 0 to 4 years, the rate was almost 10 times higher in the week ending Aug. 14, 2021, versus June 26, 2021.
The hospitalization rate during June 20 to July 31, 2021, was 10.1 times higher among unvaccinated versus fully vaccinated adolescents (aged 12 to 17 years).
“With more activities resuming, including in-person school attendance and a return of younger children to congregate child care settings, preventive measures to reduce the incidence of severe COVID-19 are critical,” Delahoy and colleagues write.