Rise in COVID child hospitalizations in New York City is a warning

An increase in COVID-19 child hospitalizations in New York City is seen as a warning to vaccinate more children in California and elsewhere as the Omicron variant continues to rise.

The Omicron wave hit New York City before California, where cases spiked last week. California officials said they were monitoring the increase in child hospitalizations.

“Unfortunately, NY is seeing an increase in pediatric hospitalizations (mostly among the unvaccinated), and they have [5 – to 11-year-old] vaccination rate, ”Dr. Erica Pan, California State Epidemiologist wrote on Twitter. “Please give your children the gift of vaccine protection as soon as possible because our case [numbers] increase rapidly.

The increase is concentrated in New York City and the surrounding metro area. Authorities have described the quadrupling of pediatric admissions to New York in recent weeks.

Half of the children admitted to hospitals are under 5 years old and cannot be vaccinated. Three-quarters of people aged 12 to 17 who were admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 were not fully immunized, and 100% of people aged 5 to 11 who were admitted to hospitals were not not fully vaccinated.

The warning about pediatric hospital admissions comes as California Public Health Director and Health Officer Dr Tomás Aragón warned state modellers predicted increases in hospital frequency in California.

“Why? Omicron is so contagious that it finds unvaccinated / unimmunized people who are most vulnerable to hospitalizations and death,” Aragón wrote.

Aragon urged people to get vaccinated and boosted; test before risk events, as well as three to five days after them; and consider not attending or postponing high-risk indoor gatherings. Aragón also suggested improving ventilation and air filtration, as well as the fit and quality of the masks.

Health experts have increasingly urged people to upgrade their masks from cloth-only masks. A more protective mask wearing configuration involves a fabric mask over a surgical mask, which improves the fit; an even more improved configuration is to wear the higher quality ones, such as a KF94, KN95 or N95 mask.

Dr Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to President Biden, recently asked people not to go to the kinds of indoor parties attended by dozens of people whose immunization status you don’t know. Fauci said it was safer for people to gather in smaller gatherings with family and friends in homes where everyone is known to be vaccinated and boosted, and even safer if people undergo rapid testing just before the event.

While unvaccinated people are at the greatest risk of contracting the virus and developing serious illness, mutations in the Omicron variant allow it to increase the risk of major infections in those vaccinated. Still, people vaccinated, especially those who are boosted, should generally be protected from serious illness and death, unless they have weakened immune systems.

New cases of the coronavirus increased dramatically ahead of Christmas in Los Angeles County. As of Tuesday, 3,052 new cases were reported; Wednesday, 6509; Thursday, 8,633; and Friday, 9,988. LA County did not report any new cases on Saturday due to Christmas.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County have also increased significantly since December 1, from 569 to 849 on Christmas Eve, a 49% increase. But the latest figure is much lower than it was a year ago, when vaccines were just introduced and were in very limited supply; in LA County on December 24, 2020, there were 6,770 people with COVID-19 in LA County hospitals; up from 2,572 on December 1, 2020. At its peak, LA County saw 8,098 hospitalizations related to COVID-19 on January 5, a period that coincided with overwhelmed hospitals and overflowing mortuaries.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in southern California are increasing faster than in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Since December 1, the hospitalization rate for COVID-19 in southern California has increased by about 34%, from 7.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population to 10.3.

In contrast, the greater San Francisco Bay Area saw its rate climb 19%, from 3.8 to 4.6. Experts say it’s a sign of worry when the rate is 5 or more.

The Inland Empire has one of the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rates in Southern California; San Bernardino County’s rate is 19 and Riverside County’s rate is 15. San Diego County’s rate is 10; Ventura County, 9; LA County, 8; and Orange County, 7.

Some experts express hope that areas with high vaccination and masking rates will not be devastated by an increase in hospitalizations linked to COVID-19.

Dr Robert Wachter, chairman of the UC San Francisco Department of Medicine, wrote on Friday that while rates of coronavirus cases are rising rapidly in San Francisco, the number of hospitals remains low.

The bad news, Wachter said, is that Omicron is spreading quickly in San Francisco. The good news is that Omicron appears to lead to milder disease in general, especially in vaccinated populations, Wachter wrote on Twitter.

Wachter said he would be much less optimistic in areas with low vaccination rates. San Francisco has one of the highest vaccination rates in California, with 88% of the population having received at least one dose; but other areas of the state have lower rates; The LA County rate is 76%; Orange County, 75%; while that of San Bernardino County is 60% and that of Kern County is 56%.

“I would be… a lot more scared if I weren’t upset and boosted.” The non-vaxxed play a risky hand ”, Wachter wrote.

In San Francisco, Wachter wrote he still expects an increase in hospitalizations, but added that it “seems unlikely to be overwhelming here”.

Officials in Los Angeles County have expressed concern over the rising number of cases.

“A very high number of cases can easily cause significant stress to our health care system if even a small percentage of those infected are in pain and require hospital care,” said Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer. A surge in COVID in hospitals can also compromise care for non-COVID patients, such as those with accidents, heart disease and cancer.

Still, LA County can handle the increase in the number of cases without overwhelming the hospital system, Ferrer said, if more people are vaccinated and boosted, wear masks in indoor public places and crowded outdoor areas, and avoid large, overcrowded gatherings indoors.

Ferrer has also discouraged large indoor public gatherings in light of Omicron’s surge.

“Either way, the number of cases will increase. But we might be able to manage these numbers of cases in a way that doesn’t end up stressing our health care system and prevent most people from suffering from serious illness and the tragedy of death, ”Ferrer said. .

Unvaccinated people are the most likely to be infected with the coronavirus and be hospitalized with COVID-19.

For the one-week period that ended Dec. 11, per 100,000 unvaccinated residents, there were 272 LA County residents who were newly infected with the coronavirus. In comparison, for 100,000 residents considered to be fully vaccinated but not having received a booster, 68 were infected.

Those who received their booster had the lowest risk of infection. For every 100,000 residents who received a booster, only 12 were infected that week.

This means that unvaccinated people were 23 times more likely to be infected with the coronavirus than vaccinated people who received a booster.

People who were vaccinated were also much less likely to be hospitalized than people who were not vaccinated.

For every 100,000 unvaccinated LA County residents, 25 of them were hospitalized for the week that ended Dec. 11. By comparison, the hospitalization rate for people considered to be fully vaccinated was 1.

“Even with increasing transmission, vaccination continues to be very protective against hospitalization,” Ferrer said. noted.

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