Sep 6, 2021
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Is the delta variant of the coronavirus associated with the severe course of COVID-19 in children?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published two studies on how the delta variant of coronavirus affects the incidence of COVID-19 in children and how severe the infection is for them.

The first study showed that from late June to August 2021, the number of hospitalizations for children and adolescents increased fivefold compared to previous months. However, this indicator did not reach the peak that was observed in the country in January 2021.

The authors of the study write that the effect of vaccination is obvious: non-vaccinated adolescents are hospitalized 10 times more often than vaccinated ones. In states with low vaccination coverage, pediatric patients are admitted to hospitals four times more often than states with high coverage.

In another study, researchers at the CDC found that after the delta variant became dominant, the percentage of infected children who develop severe COVID-19 did not increase. Scientists focused on the condition of children who were admitted to American hospitals in August 2021. The proportion of children hospitalized with COVID-19 requiring treatment in an intensive care unit was 20%. Earlier, in the period from August 2020 to July 2021, it varied within 10-25%.

However, this work confirmed that hospital admissions and admissions rates for children have indeed increased. The largest increase in hospital admissions for coronavirus infection among children aged four years and under – almost 10 times more than in June 2021.

Scientists say the new data underscores the importance of a broad vaccination campaign in protecting children from infection. However, differences between regions may have been influenced by other factors, such as requirements for wearing masks and social distancing.

Scientists note that current information is based on a limited amount of data. However, today there is no reason to argue that the delta variant is associated with an increase in the severity of the disease and the risk of death in children.

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