Disturbing jump in NYC pediatric hospitalizations tied to COVID surge


NEW YORK — The spiraling COVID-19 case numbers in New York are coming with a new warning of a disturbing rise in pediatric hospitalizations.

The New York State Department of Health on Friday warned of a “striking increase” in new hospital admissions for children.

The recent fourfold increase in admissions of children ages 18 and younger that began the week of Dec. 5 is concentrated in New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area, where the highly contagious omicron variant has taken a startling hold.

For the week ending Dec. 19, none of the children between the ages of 5 and 11 who were admitted to the hospital with COVID were fully vaccinated. During the same week, a quarter of the 12- to 17-year-olds who were admitted were fully vaccinated, according to DOH.

Acting state Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett urged parents to get their eligible children vaccinated against COVID.

“The risks of COVID-19 for children are real,” Bassett said in a statement. “We are alerting New Yorkers to this recent striking increase in pediatric COVID-19 admissions so that pediatricians, parents and guardians can take urgent action to protect our youngest New Yorkers.”

As of Friday, 27% of 5- to 11-year-olds in New York have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine and only 16% were fully vaccinated, according to DOH data. Meanwhile, nearly 72% of 12- to 17-year-olds have gotten at least one dose and 64% were fully vaccinated.

The state Health Department on Friday reported a record-high 44,431 new COVID-19 cases statewide.

Overall hospitalizations were also up, however, not nearly to the levels seen during the 2020 holiday season surge, when COVID vaccines were not widely available. The state reported over 4,700 hospitalizations on Friday, compared to around 7,000 this time last year, according to the governor.

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