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Hospitalizations of Children with Delta Variant Soar in US

Coronavirus children hospitalizations
Nurses distributing the coronavirus vaccine in Greece. The US CDC has stated that there are much higher Covid-19-related hospitalization rates among children now that the Delta variant is dominant. Credit: Greek Reporter

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are much higher Covid-19-related hospitalization rates for children now that the Delta variant of the virus is dominant throughout the world.

In a disturbing trend, coronavirus–associated hospitalization rates among children and adolescents increased by a multiple of five from late June to mid-August in the US.

In Houston, Texas’ largest city, hospitals are overwhelmed by the numbers of coronavirus patients — many of them children.

More children hospitalized because of prevalence in community as a whole

While the FDA continues to ponder the authorization of the coronavirus vaccines for children under 12, the more highly-transmissible variant continues its march throughout the nations of the world; meanwhile, children are returning to schools across the US this week.

ln two studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday say that weekly coronavirus-related hospitalization rates among children and adolescents increased nearly five-fold in 14 states.

However, the study noted that the “proportions of hospitalized children and adolescents with severe disease were similar before and during the period of Delta predominance” — showing that the much more easily variant does not appear to cause more severe disease in children than earlier versions of the virus.

In a press briefing on Thursday CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stated “Although we are seeing more cases in children and more overall cases, these studies demonstrated that there was not increased disease severity in children.

“Instead,” she explained, “more children have COVID-19 because there is more disease in the community.”

Hospitalization rates ten times higher for unvaccinated children

Unsurprisingly, the studies also discovered that hospitalization rates were ten times higher among unvaccinated adolescents who were eligible for the inoculation than those who had been fully vaccinated.

During the first two weeks of August, coronavirus-related emergency department visits and hospital admissions for both children and adolescents were the highest in states with the lowest vaccination rates, according to the second study.

The CDC director urged all those who are eligible for the vaccine to get it as soon as possible to protect all the children under 12, who are not yet eligible to receive the inoculation.

“What is clear from these data is community-level vaccination coverage protects our children,” Walensky stated to the press. “As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in the community, the number of children getting sick, presenting to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital will also increase.”

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association states that coronavirus cases in children have “increased exponentially” after declining in the early summer.

“We know what we need to do to protect our children: get vaccinated, wear masks, and follow CDC guidance,” Walensky said before adding “We must come together to ensure that our children, indeed our future, remain safe and healthy during this time.”

Now, researchers in Israel have studied how much protection is afforded by the vaccine as opposed to having the antibodies as a result of recovering from the infection.

Ultimately, they discovered, as they report in their paper — which has yet to be peer-reviewed, that the natural immunity conferred by having the virus, plus one dose of vaccine, may be the best way to avoid any reinfection.

Israel, the showpiece of world vaccination efforts this past Spring and Summer, with the highest inoculation rates in the world, is surprisingly experiencing spikes in infections now that the Delta variant has taken over as the dominant strain of the virus.

Naturally, many are asking how this could be, since the vaccines afforded such an extraordinarily high rate of effectiveness — hovering in between 95%-98% — that few thought any additional variants would pose a major problem to those already vaccinated.

Vaccines still “very effective” at preventing hospitalization despite Delta variant

As reported in Medical News Today, researchers compared breakthrough infection rates against rates of reinfection in those who had already had a previous iteration of the virus.

The analysis showed that those who had never had the coronavirus but did receive a vaccine in January or February of this year were up to 13 times more likely to contract Covid-19 than people who had recovered from the infection.

However, the study showed that unvaccinated people are twice as likely to contract the infection again, compared with people who had received even just one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Infection disease experts urge the public not to pin their hopes on even the partial immunity given to them by having survived the virus and having some antibodies against it.

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, in Nashville, told Medical News Today that the covid-19 vaccines are doing exactly what they were designed for.

“All the vaccines we have, Moderna, Pfizer, and (Johnson & Johnson), are very effective in preventing hospitalization,” he noted, including any severe illness “that requires admission to the hospital.”

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