Covid Update: New York City leads in child hospitalizations, Brazil has vax for children
Brazil’s regulators have approved a vaccine for children, but Bolsonaro isn’t happy
The number of children with covid-19 recently hospitalized in New York City has increased by nearly five times this month, New York state officials said at a news conference, the Washington Post reports.
In the week starting Dec. 5, city hospitals admitted 22 children. But during a five-day period beginning Dec. 19, that figure rose to 109. The increase reflects a broader surge of coronavirus infections in the United States, driven in part by the omicron variant. As of last week, nearly 2,000 confirmed or suspected pediatric covid patients were hospitalized nationally, a 31 percent jump in 10 days.
Officials are hoping a city mandate that took effect Monday requiring workers at an estimated 184,000 businesses to get at least one vaccine dose will curb infections. “We need more and more people vaccinated,” Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday cut the recommended isolation time for people with asymptomatic coronavirus infections to five days.
- Widespread flight cancellations continue — blamed on a combination of staffing shortages linked to the omicron variant and dangerous winter weather. Over 4,000 flights to, from or inside the United States have been canceled since Friday, and more are likely in the days ahead.
- The highly transmissible omicron variant continues to sweep the nation, with Florida reporting 39,000 new cases of infection Monday, following the Christmas weekend.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said Monday that he would not vaccinate his 11-year-old daughter against the coronavirus, even though a government advisory body estimated that at least 301 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have died of the virus in Brazil since the pandemic began, according to Reuters.
“Children have not been dying in a way that justifies a vaccine for children,” Bolsonaro told reporters Monday. “My daughter isn’t getting vaccinated, let me make that very clear.”
The far-right leader said Marcelo Queiroga, the nation’s health minister, would inform citizens next month on how vaccinations for the younger demographic would be carried out. Earlier this month, Brazil’s health regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children 5 to 11.
Bolsonaro has long played down the severity of the virus, referring to it as a “little cold,” encouraging people to return to work and frequently contradicting the advice of his own health advisers. In October, Bolsonaro said he would not get the vaccine.
With infections surging around the world due to the extremely contagious omicron variant, many countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have rolled out extended vaccination efforts to include children.
In a 1,000-page report presented in October, a Brazilian Senate committee accused Bolsonaro of crimes against humanity, citing negligence amid the global health crisis. More than 618,000 people have died of the coronavirus in the country, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
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