The Omicron variant caused a rapid increase in the number of infections in the United States. As the holidays approached, many residents had to reconsider their plans.
There is not much confirmation of the new Omicron variant, but there is preliminary evidence that it is more infectious than the previous strain. In addition, people infected with Covid-19 may have a higher risk of re-infection. But what worries scientists, doctors and medical professionals is the hospitalization rate. The danger of infectious viruses is that many people will get sick and be hospitalized. Several states in the United States are canceling medical appointments, including cancer screenings, organ transplants, and hip and knee replacements. Because hospitals are overcrowded and staff and resources are scarce, non-coronavirus patients may not be able to get the care they need.
Children are also the focus of special attention. Many experts have studied whether Omicron variants can cause more serious infections. Some evidence from South Africa suggests that the effect on children may be similar to the Delta variant. In South Africa, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases reported that in Tshwane, one of the hardest-hit areas, children under two accounted for about 10% of hospital admissions. This is in line with the numbers obtained when the Delta variant increased the number of cases in the region earlier this year.
Number of children enrolled
Part of the reason for the high rate of hospitalization for young children is that children are not vaccinated, which means they are less protected. Delta Air Lines led to an increase in hospitalizations in late August. From August 29 to September 4, about 342 children were hospitalized every day. From December 5th to 11th, this number dropped to about 192 times a day. However, after months of steady decline, this number is now growing.
Symptoms in children
To date, there have been no reports confirming an increase in the severity of symptoms associated with Omicron infection in children or adults. Although some people say that Omicron infections are usually “mild”, this has not been confirmed, and the World Health Organization warns against trusting this news until more data is available.
Vaccines and children
All children over 5 can be vaccinated. Children between 5 and 11 years of age receive two doses of Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines, which are lower than adults. Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that it would allow minors between 16 and 17 years of age to inject booster shots.