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Child hospitalizations reach record high in US, UK

This picture taken on November 05, 2021 shows a child receiving a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, California. (File photo by AFP)

Child hospitalizations in the United States and the United Kingdom have reached record highs amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

CDC director Rochelle Walensky said last week that pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in the US had reached record levels.

Britain reported 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 Wall Street Journal noted on Saturday.

WSJ cited UK Doctors as suggesting that the Omicron variant's infectiousness, and not any increased severity, was pushing COVID-19 hospital admissions among children to record levels in the two countries.

US President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said late last month that for vaccinated people, the Omicron variant appeared to be less severe than the earlier Delta variant.

"We know now, incontrovertibly, that this is a highly, highly transmissible virus. We know that from the numbers we're seeing," Fauci said during a White House briefing, pointing to initial US hospital data and international research, adding “all indications point to a lesser severity of Omicron versus Delta."

Meanwhile, according to CDC reports there were 4.3 COVID-related hospitalizations per 100,000 children under the age of 4 for the week ending on January 1, while there were about 1.1 hospitalizations per 100,000 children ages 5 to 17, and 14.7 hospitalizations for adults over the age of 65 years old. 

Medical experts are still unsure how coronavirus affects children and it is unclear how much of the child hospitalization can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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