78% of hospitalized children had SARS-CoV-2 infections

Jan. 4, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reported in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), that pediatric COVID-19–related hospitalization rates increased when the highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant became the predominant circulating strain.

Among children and adolescents with SARS-CoV-2 infection admitted to six hospitals during July–August 2021, 77.9% were hospitalized for acute COVID-19. Among these patients, approximately one third aged <5 years had a viral coinfection (approximately two thirds of which were respiratory syncytial virus) and approximately two thirds of those aged 12–17 years had obesity; only 0.4% of age-eligible patients were fully vaccinated.

Data collected from six U.S. children’s hospitals located in areas with high COVID-19 incidence during July–August 2021 (Arkansas, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, and Texas).

Patients were categorized by reason for hospitalization:

1) acute COVID-19

2) incidental positive SARS-CoV-2 test result

3) MIS-C.

Patient demographic characteristics, medical history, coinfections, and disease severity, including need for and duration of respiratory support, ICU admission, IMV, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and deaths were abstracted from the medical record. Among patients hospitalized for COVID-19, presence of underlying medical conditions (including obesity), viral coinfection, and illness course were described by age group.

Among 915 patients aged <18 years, 713 (77.9%) were hospitalized for COVID-19, 177 (19.3%) had incidental SARS-CoV-2 infections, and 25 (2.7%) had MIS-C. Among all 915 patients, 22.5% were aged <1 year, 18.3% were aged 1–4 years, 21.5% were aged 5–11 years, and 37.7% were aged 12–17 years. Among the 713 patients hospitalized for COVID-19, approximately one half (373; 52.3%) were male, 210 (29.5%) were non-Hispanic White persons, 202 (28.3%) were non-Hispanic Black persons or African American persons (Black), and 211 (29.6%) were Hispanic persons.

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