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How COVID-19 is impacting children amid Omicron surge

There’s been a jump in pediatric hospital admissions for COVID in recent weeks.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:52 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - There’s been a jump in pediatric hospital admissions for COVID in recent weeks.

According to Harvard Medical School, most children who get the virus have no symptoms or milder symptoms and more recent studies indicate that children are capable of spreading the virus.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says, for the week ending January 6th, more than 580,000 children tested positive for the virus and child cases have almost tripled since the start of December.

When we spoke with Pediatric Infectious Disease expert and epidemiologist Dr. Amina Ahmed in the summer, she said, “Children at the beginning of this pandemic accounted for about 1% of cases overall, not test, but 1% of cases.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 8.5 million children have tested positive for COVID since the pandemic started.

Since the first week of September, more than 3.4 million additional child cases have been reported.

Doctors say, there’s evidence Omicron tends to be an upper respiratory illness, and for kids, symptoms could show as croup, which gets worse at night.

Dr. Gabrielle Hester says, “Families should look out for trouble breathing, particularly noisy breathing or looking like a child is really struggling to get air.”

She says, when you see those symptoms, it’s time to seek medical attention.

Infection Preventionist Joe Kurland at Children’s Minnesota says, “The kids that are getting admitted are on the younger side, so kids that are too young to be eligible to get vaccinated and they’re also going to be kids that haven’t even completed their vaccine series.”

The CDC recommends anyone 5 years and older get the COVID-19 vaccine.

We still don’t have an exact date for when a vaccine will be available for those under 5.

According to NCDHHS, “We are seeing rapidly increasing cases across all our ages groups, including children. In the past 14 days, 19.12% of North Carolina’s weekly cases are in ages 0-17. Approximately, 3% of COVID hospitalizations are in ages 17 and under.”

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