A steep rise in hospitalizations of children due to Omicron

From the pandemic's start, children have been disproportionately affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, with a relatively lower infection rate, hospitalization, and severity of the symptoms. This was positive news as vaccines were not available for the younger population for a while, even after they were available for adults.

However, with the global dominance of the Omicron variant, the spectrum tends to be changing as a larger proportion of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are of the younger population compared to previous infection waves. Although Omicron appears less likely than Delta to cause hospitalization or death in general, public health agencies are alarmed to see the disproportionate hospitalizations in children, making up approximately 5% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US – a steep rise of four times than the previous coronavirus waves.

Emerging data suggests that Omicron's extremely high transmissibility, coupled with;

  • a lack of built-up immunity from vaccination or past infections in children,

  • kids' relatively small nasal passageways compared to adults, and

  • Omicron's multitude of mutations,

seems to be making the illness slightly more severe in younger children than in the adult population.

Find out more >> Nature