Science & Technology

75% of US children have now had COVID, up from 44% due to omicron

A child arrives at an elementary school vaccination site for children ages 5 to 11 in Miami in November 2021.
Enlarge / A baby arrives at an elementary college vaccination website for kids ages 5 to 11 in Miami in November 2021.

No less than 75 p.c of US youngsters have now been contaminated with the pandemic coronavirus, up from roughly 44 p.c earlier than the omicron wave, in line with a brand new research by the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

Kids within the age teams of 0 to 11 and 12 to 17 have the very best an infection charges and noticed essentially the most vital will increase in the course of the omicron wave in contrast with another age group. A couple of third of all youngsters within the nation have been newly contaminated in the course of the omicron wave. Collectively, the info showcase simply how poorly the nation has performed at shielding youngsters—together with these not but eligible for vaccination—from the pandemic virus.

The brand new knowledge dovetails with a research printed by the CDC in February, which discovered that the height charge of pediatric hospitalizations in the course of the omicron wave was 4 occasions larger than the height seen in the course of the delta wave final fall. The most important enhance was seen in youngsters ages 0 to 4, who had a peak hospitalization charge 5 occasions larger than the height amid delta.

Seroprevalence research

Throughout the omicron interval, the rise in infections in youngsters was “fairly putting,” Kristie Clarke, lead writer of the brand new CDC research, mentioned throughout a press briefing Tuesday. “This actually reinforces a few of our earlier findings.”

The CDC drew knowledge from an ongoing nationwide survey of blood samples submitted to business labs for numerous routine and diagnostic testing for the brand new research. The survey included between 45,000 and 81,000 samples per four-week interval between September 2021 and February 2022.

Blood samples have been examined for anti-nucleocapsid (anti-N) SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, that are antibodies produced solely by a SARS-CoV-2 an infection, not vaccination (vaccines solely produce anti-spike antibodies). The antibody take a look at could be very delicate; it could actually detect low ranges of anti-N antibodies for so long as one to 2 years after an an infection. The take a look at would not mirror whether or not somebody is protected against future safety. It merely offers a yes-or-no readout of whether or not somebody had been contaminated earlier than. To keep away from biased sampling, the researchers excluded blood samples submitted particularly to check for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. General, this sort of surveillance research is named a seroprevalence research, which estimates the prevalence of an an infection in a inhabitants primarily based on blood samples.

Kids unprotected

Clarke and colleagues targeted on the interval from December 2021 to February 2022 to know the influence of the omicron wave. For the inhabitants as a complete, seroprevalence within the US rose from 33.5 p.c to 58 p.c. However essentially the most vital will increase in ranges of an infection have been in youngsters. Seroprevalence rose from 44 p.c to 75 p.c in youngsters ages 0 to 11 and 46 p.c to 74 p.c in 12- to 17-year-olds.

Compared, adults 18 to 49 noticed seroprevalence rise from 36.5 p.c to 64 p.c. The 50 to 64 group had seroprevalence charges go from 29 p.c to 50 p.c. And people 65 and above noticed seroprevalence go from 19 p.c to 33 p.c.

The upper seroprevalence in youthful age teams displays the comparatively low vaccination charges in youngsters—the bottom of all of the age teams. Whereas youngsters ages 0 to 4 aren’t but eligible for vaccination, youngsters ages 5 and up are. However solely 28 p.c of youngsters 5 to 11 and 59 p.c of youngsters 12 to 17 have been absolutely vaccinated. Kids are additionally finest protected when surrounded by adults who’re up-to-date with their vaccinations. But, solely 76 p.c of adults have gotten their full main sequence of vaccine doses and, of these absolutely vaccinated, solely 46 p.c have obtained a booster dose.

Whereas youngsters have a comparatively decrease threat of extreme illness from COVID-19, they are not proof against dangerous outcomes, Clarke burdened Tuesday. “In youngsters, COVID can actually be fairly extreme,” she mentioned, noting that amongst youngsters who find yourself hospitalized, 20 p.c to 30 p.c find yourself within the ICU. Whereas these are usually youngsters with underlying circumstances, Clarke famous that 60 p.c to 70 p.c of COVID-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome circumstances in youngsters (MIS-C) happen in beforehand wholesome youngsters. There’s additionally the chance of lengthy COVID.

However, vaccination can defend towards all of those outcomes, Clarke famous. The pictures additionally present broader safety than previous an infection, which might be crucial for safeguarding towards future variants.

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