More kids are being hospitalized with the coronavirus, but some experts say the omicron variant does not appear to be more severe in kids than previous strands. Instead, they blame the explosion in all cases and the delay in vaccination for young people since vaccines for them were released well after adults began getting jabs.
The Policylab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reported in a blog post last week that nationwide there were 1.1 overall hospitalizations per 100,000 children – low compared to a typical flu season that can reach three to five patients per 100,000 children. Only Ohio and Missouri had a pediatric census exceeding three patients per 100,000 children, the Policylab reported.
The blog post added that the numbers will need to be closely monitored given omicron’s surge and an uptick in hospitalization numbers in all regions except the West.
Story from Chase
Try this healthy financial habit for the holidays
See More →
“The important story to tell here is that severity is way down and the risk for significant severe disease seems to be lower,” Dr. David Rubin, a researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told The New York Times.
Also in the news:
►Chicago will host its largest New Year’s fireworks display in city history after canceling last year’s celebrations because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the COVID-conscious effort will include opportunities to watch the show outside or at home.
Story from Know Narcolepsy®
Living with narcolepsy
Tim was always tired. For many years, that was just the way life was – until he was diagnosed with narcolepsy.
See More →
►An Arkansas judge on Wednesday struck down a state law that prevents schools and other governmental entities from requiring face masks.
►It’s too early to say whether a second booster, or fourth shot, will be needed to combat the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. The Biden administration’s chief medical adviser said at a White House briefing that there is not enough data yet on whether the effect of the third shot is diminishing over time.
►National hospitalizations are rising in about half the states – and some are rising with alarming speed. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina all rose more than 20% week-over-week. Louisiana admissions are up 107.5% week over week.
►The world saw more than 10 cases reported every second over the seven-day period that ended Tuesday. That’s a new record.
►An Australian lab said it has sent hundreds of patients the wrong COVID test results over the last few days, citing a “major increase in volume of tests” combined with a “simple data processing error.” Almost 900 people were told they tested negative when they actually tested positive, Sydpath said in a statement.
Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 53.1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 820,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 282.8 million cases and 5.4 million deaths. More than 205 million Americans – 61.9% – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
What we’re reading: Omicron could force many workers who test positive to quarantine under federal mandate, intensifying labor shortages.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s free Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
3,700 flights already imperiled Wednesday as airline woes continue
More than 3,700 Wednesday flights across the nation were either canceled or delayed before the day barely got started. There are already 881 cancellations and 2,839 delays within, into and out of the U.S. this morning, according to FlightAware, which tracks the status of flights. Thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled over the past several days as airlines grapple with wicked weather across parts of the West and staffing shortages because of the latest surge in coronavirus infections. On Tuesday alone, almost 1,300 flights were canceled and over 7,400 were delayed.
CDC monitoring 92 cruise ships – but that doesn’t mean there are outbreaks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring or investigating 92 ships for COVID. Monitoring doesn’t mean there is a widespread COVID outbreak on board – just one case of COVID-like symptoms could prompt monitoring. But even with stringent vaccination, testing and masking, among other protocols, it is fairly common for cases of COVID to emerge among passengers and crew on cruise vessels. Read more here.
David Daigle, a spokesperson for the CDC, told USA TODAY the health agency acknowledges it is “not possible” for cruising to be a zero-risk activity amid the pandemic. A person’s chance at contracting COVID-19 is higher on cruise ships because the virus spreads more easily between people spending time in such close quarters.
– Morgan Hines and Eve Chen
Omicron makes you sick faster – and possibly contagious sooner
Omicron makes people sick faster than earlier variants, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that confirms what many have already observed. Although most cases of omicron appear to be relatively mild, people generally get COVID-19 symptoms three days after being exposed to the virus, rather than about four days with delta and five or longer with the original virus, the study concludes. People are probably contagious sooner after exposure – and maybe even before they test positive for infection. Thus, Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital, recommended holding off on parties for now.
“Look for a time in the future when it’s safer to do these things,” he said. “In a few weeks, the situation may be substantially better.”
– Karen Weintraub and Ken Alltucker
Transgender adults struggle in pandemic
Transgender adults are having a more difficult time than the overall population in getting adequate nourishment during the pandemic, according to a new study. The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law report found that transgender adults were three times as likely as other adults to face food insufficiency – defined as not having enough to eat in the last seven days – between July and October. The gap was even more severe for transgender people of color, who were six times as likely to experience food insufficiency as cisgender white adults.