The delta variant does not cause more severe cases of COVID-19 in children and teens than the other variants, according to the first data from a study released Friday by US health authorities.
Concerns about the consequences of the delta variable have been growing among the country’s youngest for several weeks, given the increasing number of children in hospitals.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the leading federal public health agency, studied data of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in 99 counties in 14 US states, covering nearly 10 percent of the US population.
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Specifically, the agency compared the period from early March to mid-June with the period from mid-June to late July, when the delta variant became dominant in the United States. Between these two periods, the number of hospitalizations among children and adolescents aged 0-17 years increased fivefold.
However, the proportion of children and adolescents admitted to hospital with critical illness, eg with admission to intensive care, was comparable before and during the period when the delta variant was dominant.
Of the 3,116 children and teens hospitalized in Delta within three and a half months, about 26 percent were admitted to intensive care, 6 percent were put on a ventilator and less than 1 percent died. After Delta’s dominance, of the 164 hospitalizations, about 23 percent were admitted to intensive care within a month and a half, 10 percent were on a ventilator and less than 2 percent died. Thus the differences between the two periods are not statistically significant.
In addition, the study shows that vaccines still protect adolescents well against the delta variant: the number of hospitalizations for unvaccinated adolescents was ten times higher than for those vaccinated during the delta control period.
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