Child COVID-19 hospitalization rates continue to climb

This story appeared in ABC 12. Read more here

More children are being hospitalized with COVID-19 than ever before as the Omicron variant’s spread intensifies.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 672 children were admitted to hospitals every day with COVID-19 during the last week.

Hospitals in both Mid-Michigan and Metro Detroit report they are seeing higher numbers of young children being hospitalized with COVID-19.

While early in the pandemic it seemed as though children were less affected by COVID-19, doctors say the Omicron variant is changing that.

“I think it’s because it so contagious,” said pediatrician Dr. Dennis Cunningham with Henry Ford Health System. “Even if only a small percentage of children need to be admitted, when you have so many more cases because Omicron is so contagious, you get more kids coming into the hospital.”

He said the state is seeing a record number of children being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

“This age group spreads COVID-19 quite easily. We need to keep them in school and safe, the vaccine is how we build up their immunity so we can do this,” said Cunningham.

The CDC says about 1,045 children under age 18 have died from COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. With vaccines and boosters now approved for some children, Cunningham hopes to see more parents use these tools to protect their children.

“As a pediatrician, I strongly advise parents to get their children ages 5 to 11 vaccinated. Since we started vaccinating this age group in mid-November, just over 2,000 doses have been administered,” said Cunningham. “We need more parents to step forward to protect their children and those around them including their grandparents and their classmates.”

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