Schools Might Be Heading for a January ‘Omicron Break’
Unless we radically rethink pandemic protocols, there will be a lot of absences in a lot of places.Ben: On Monday, the CDC released new COVID guidelines advising that people who have tested positive need to isolate for only five days, down from ten, and that they can return to the general population if they’re feeling better at that point — no negative test needed. That last point especially has drawn a lot of criticism.
Hospitalizations of U.S. children under 5 with COVID-19 soared in recent weeks to their highest level since the pandemic began, according to government data released Friday on the only age group not yet eligible for the vaccine.
The worrisome trend in children too young to be vaccinated underscores the need for older kids and adults to get their shots to protect those around them, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Congressman Eric Swalwell Blames 'Republican Liars' for Prolonged COVID Misery
Swalwell blamed "Republican liars" for the consequences of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.Swalwell made the remark in a tweet on Friday after the House Judiciary Committee Republicans' account tweeted, then deleted a spurious suggestion that the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots don't "work." The five-term Democrat insisted that Americans dealing with the consequences of the raging pandemic as the new year quickly approached should "look no farther" than Republicans promoting misinformation.
Since mid-December, as the highly contagious omicron variant has spread furiously around the country, the hospitalization rate in these youngest children has surged to more than 4 in 100,000 youngsters, up from 2.5 per 100,000.
That compares with a current rate of about 1 per 100,000 for children ages 5 to 17, according to CDC data.
In a statement, Walensky said that while children still have the lowest rate of hospitalization of any age group, “pediatric hospitalizations are at their highest rate compared to any prior point in the pandemic.”
At a briefing, she said the numbers include children hospitalized because of COVID-19 and those admitted for other reasons but found to be infected.
She noted that just over 50% of children ages 12 to 18 are fully vaccinated and only 16% of those 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated.
As of Tuesday, the average number of children and teens admitted to the hospital per day with COVID-19 was 766, double the figure reported just two weeks ago.
At a White House briefing this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious-disease expert, said many children hospitalized with COVID-19 have other health conditions that make them more susceptible to complications from the virus. That includes obesity, diabetes and lung disease.
Children are hospitalized with Covid at record numbers in the U.S.
Covid warning symptoms in children: The number of children hospitalized with Covid and omicron variant is soaring nationwide.According to an NBC News analysis, at least nine states have reported record numbers of Covid-related pediatric hospitalizations: Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as Washington, D.C.
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Fauci and Walensky have emphasized that one of the best ways to protect the youngest children is to vaccinate everyone else.
Data suggest booster shots offer the best protection against omicron, and CDC this week recommended them for kids as young as 12. Among older ages already eligible, just 34% have received them.
The surge in hospitalizations only heightens the concerns of parents worried about how to keep their infants and toddlers safe.
Emily Hojara and Eli Zilke of Sawyer, Michigan, are being extra protective of their daughter Flora, who turns 2 in May. They limit her contact with other children, and no visitors are allowed in the house unless masked, not even grandparents.
“It’s been a struggle, and now with this new variant, I feel it’s knocked us back,’’ Hojara said. She said the new hospitalization data “just reminds you that that anxiety is hovering really close.’’
“It’s scary that she can’t be vaccinated,’’ Hojara said of her daughter.
Warrant issued in Memphis slaying of rapper Young Dolph
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — An arrest warrant has been issued for a Tennessee man in connection with the fatal shooting of rapper Young Dolph, who was gunned down in a daylight ambush at a popular cookie shop in November in his hometown of Memphis, authorities said Wednesday. A first-degree murder warrant was issued for Justin Johnson, 23, in the Nov. 17 shooting of Young Dolph, whose real name is Adolph Thornton Jr., the U.S. Marshals Service said in a news release. The marshals service and the Memphis Police Department have been searching for suspects in the killing. A $15,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.
Dr. Jennifer Kusma, a pediatrician with Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospital, said she has seen increasing numbers of kids hospitalized with omicron, and while most aren’t severely ill, she understands parents’ worries.
“As a pediatrician, I really wish we already had that vaccine for these young kids,’’ Kusma said. But she added that what may seem like a long wait should reassure parents that vaccine testing is not being rushed.
Many had hoped the new year might bring a vaccine for young children, but Pfizer announced last month that two doses didn’t offer as much protection as hoped for in youngsters ages 2 to 4.
Pfizer’s study has been updated to give everyone under 5 a third dose, and data is expected in early spring.
Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Child hospitalizations reach record high amid omicron surge: WSJ .
Child hospitalizations in the United States and United Kingdom are reaching record highs amid the omicron surge, but it is not yet clear the exact role COVID-19 is playing, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.While England saw a peak of 160 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in August for children 5 years and younger, that number reached 576 in the week to Jan. 9, the Journal noted.Earlier this month, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said that pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. had reached record levels.There were 4.