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One-third of children hospitalized with COVID-19 require ICU care, CDC says

One-third of children hospitalized with COVID-19 require ICU care, CDC says
Children hospitalized with COVID-19 are just as likely to require ICU admission as hospitalized adults, a CDC analysis finds. Pictured, a woman and child sit between neon yellow circles for social distancing at The High Line park in New York City in July. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Roughly one in three children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States has required treatment in the intensive care unit, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hospitalized adults infected with the new coronavirus are admitted to the ICU at essentially the same rate, the agency said.

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However, adults are about 20 times more likely to need hospital care after getting infected than children, the CDC said.

"Although the cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rate among children is low compared with that among adults ... children can develop severe COVID-19 illness," agency researchers wrote.

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The findings are based on an analysis of data from the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network, a surveillance system that monitors laboratory-confirmed cases and hospitalizations in 14 states. The analysis covered the period between March 1 and July 25, the CDC said.

Over that nearly five-month span, eight children for every 100,000 in the general population was hospitalized for COVID-19. For adults, that figure was 164 per 100,000 in the general population, the CDC said.

Although ICU admission rates were about the same for children and adults, invasive mechanical ventilation was required in less than 6% of children, compared to nearly 19% of adults, CDC researchers said.

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The COVID-19 hospitalization rate for children, however, increased four-fold over the nearly five-month period, and were highest for children age 2 and younger, at roughly 25 per 100,000 in the population, the agency said.

Nearly 30% of children hospitalized for COVID-19 between March and July were Black and 46% were Hispanic. More than 40% of the hospitalized children also had an underlying chronic health condition, with obesity being the most common, the CDC researchers said.

Fewer than 1% of children infected with COVID-19 died as a result. "Most reported cases of COVID-19 in children appear to be asymptomatic or mild," the CDC researchers wrote.

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