“I think the important story to tell here is that severity is way down and the risk for significant severe disease seems to be lower,” said Dr. David Rubin, a researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Several states have reported increases of about 50 percent in pediatric admissions for Covid-19 in December. New York City has experienced the most dramatic rise, with 68 children hospitalized last week, a fourfold jump from two weeks earlier.
But even as experts expressed concern about a marked jump in hospitalizations — an increase more than double that among adults — doctors and researchers said they were not seeing evidence that Omicron was more threatening to children.
In fact, preliminary data suggests that compared with the Delta variant, Omicron appears to be causing milder illness in children, similar to early findings for adults.
Instead, much of the rise in pediatric admissions results from the sheer number of children who are becoming infected with both Delta and the more contagious Omicron variant, he and other experts said, as well as low vaccination rates among children over age 5.
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