A third consecutive week of declines in new COVID-19 cases among children has brought the weekly count down by 74% since the Omicron surge peaked in mid-January, based on data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
There were just under 299,000 COVID-19 cases reported in children during the week of Feb. 4-10, down by nearly 53% from the previous week and by 74% from the peak of 1.15 million cases recorded for the week of Jan. 14-20, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID report. They also noted that the weekly tally was still higher than anything seen during the Delta surge.
The total number of pediatric cases was over 12.3 million as of Feb. 10, with children representing 18.9% of cases in all ages, according to the AAP/CHA report. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the two measures at 10.4 million and 17.3% on its COVID Data Tracker, based on availability of age data for 59.6 million total cases as of Feb. 14. The CDC also reported that 1,282 children have died from COVID-19 so far, which is about 0.17% of all deaths with age data available.
The AAP and CHA have been collecting data from state and territorial health departments, which have not always been consistently available over the course of the pandemic. Also, the CDC defines children as those under age 18 years, but that upper boundary varies from 14 to 20 among the states.
The decline of the Omicron variant also can be seen in new admissions of children with confirmed COVID-19, which continued to drop. The 7-day average of 435 admissions per day for the week of Feb. 6-12 was less than half of the peak seen in mid-January, when it reached 914 per day. The daily admission rate on Feb. 12 was 0.60 per 100,000 children aged 0-17 years – again, less than half the peak rate of 1.25 reported on Jan. 16, CDC data show.
The fading threat of Omicron also seems to be reflected in recent vaccination trends. Both initial doses and completions declined for the fourth consecutive week (Feb. 3-9) among children aged 5-11 years, while initiations held steady for 12- to 17-year-olds but completions declined for the third straight week, the AAP said in its separate vaccination report, which is based on data from the CDC.
As of Feb. 14, almost 32% of children aged 5-11 – that’s almost 9.2 million individuals – had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and just over 24% (6.9 million) were fully vaccinated, the CDC reported. For children aged 12-17, the corresponding figures are 67% (16.9 million) and 57% (14.4 million). Newly available data from the CDC also indicate that 19.5% (2.8 million) of children aged 12-17 have received a booster dose.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.