TAMPA, Fla. — While nationwide COVID-19 cases are falling, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, cases among babies and children remain high.
“In January we had our highest month ever since the start of the pandemic in pediatrics. Luckily we’re starting to see a decline and we’re very happy about that,” said Dr. Christina Canody, BayCare Pediatric Service Line Medical Director.
Last month hospitals across the country were overwhelmed with kids being admitted for COVID-19.
“This peak was more than double of any other month we’ve seen during the entire pandemic in our hospitals,” said Canody.
More than 4.5 million child COVID-19 cases were reported since the beginning of January.
“Omicron has proven to be much more contagious, especially in younger children, and had more upper airway effects resulting in increased hospitalizations,” said Canody.
Doctors said they’ve seen more hospitalizations in one age group in particular.
“For the first time in January, almost 40% of our hospitalized children were under the age of five. So if you compare zero to four versus four to 18, that’s a very small age range to have 40% of the hospitalizations, so that’s why it makes it even more important that we get this vaccine available,” said Canody.
Children under five still can’t get vaccinated.
Doctors have seen kids hospitalized due to the effects caused by COVID-19.
“We were seeing a lot of cases of croup or upper respiratory infection where there was swelling in the upper airway and required monitoring and medication therapy which has been different with the other variants,” said Canody.
Locally pediatric hospitalizations are falling.
“We’re on track that our numbers are going to be less than half of what they were last month,” said Canody.
Health officials want people to know that although cases are starting to decline, omicron is still spreading— so they shouldn’t let their guards down.
While most COVID-19 cases in kids are mild, here’s when to take them to the hospital
- difficulty creating or catching their breath
- inability to keep any liquids down
- inability to wake up
- bluish lips