The recent uptick in pediatric hospitalization has been discouraging for doctors and troubling for parents with children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccination — especially as schools reopen their doors. Children are being newly hospitalized for COVID-19 at a record rate in the United States, with numbers surging since the beginning of July as the Delta variant has overtaken the nation.
But that national boom has been driven largely by a few states, such as Florida, Texas, and Georgia, and the numbers in California have been less dire.
While there has been a rebound in recent weeks in California, rates of new hospitalizations for COVID-19 among kids and teens age 17 and younger have not reached the heights as in the hardest-hit parts of the country. Nor have those rates surged as high as last winter. That’s a major difference from Florida and Texas, where daily rates of youth hospitalization for COVID-19 surpassed their wintertime peak.
California is now reporting 18 new hospitalizations a day among children and teens, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is 10 times worse than just two months ago but still below winter levels when there were 29 children a day being newly hospitalized with COVID-19.
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The recent uptick in pediatric hospitalizations has been discouraging for doctors and troubling for parents with children younger than 12, who are not yet eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccination — especially as schools reopen their doors. The spread of the Delta variant has also raised questions about whether it is causing more severe disease than earlier variants.
Public health officials have said that California has taken steps to ensure children can go back to school safely, including requiring masks in indoor school settings and regular testing for unvaccinated workers. They also believe higher-than-average levels of vaccination in the state will help protect children.
“Parents should feel reassured that case rates are still very low amongst children; serious illnesses still remain relatively rare,” said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.