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One-Third of All Child Covid Deaths in the U.S. Happened in the Last Two Months

A tragic new report from The Guardian serves as a reminder that Covid-19 remains a severe threat, even as guidelines and mandates are being relaxed across the U.S. New data reveals that the Omicron surge of the last few months, while widely considered to be more mild than earlier Covid-19 variants, was behind a third of all child Covid deaths in the U.S.

So far this year, 550 American children have died of Covid-19, while 1,017 kids perished of the virus in the previous two years, according to the CDC. This data is about people aged 0 to 17 years, who remain the least likely to contract a lethal case of Covid-19 of any age group.

“We saw a massive surge of hospitalized young children during Omicron that we didn’t see in the earlier months of the pandemic,” Jason Kane, a pediatric intensivist and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Comer children’s hospital, told the Guardian.

Scientists are still trying to figure out why the Omicron variant has proven more severe in kids. There is some evidence that it may attack the upper airways, which are narrower in children.

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In 2022, 5 million children have been infected with Covid, and the overwhelming majority had only mild cases. But Omicron serves as a warning for doctors and parents, and there is no guarantee that future variants won’t prove even more severe for children.

The surge comes just days after Florida’s surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo took the unique step of recommending against vaccinating “healthy” kids as a way of preventing side effects, even though such side effects remain extraordinarily rare. Research has proven vaccines are extremely effective at preventing severe and lethal cases of the disease, but, as the Guardian notes, “less than 30% of children between the ages of five and 11 are vaccinated in the US, and a little more than half of children 12 to 17 are vaccinated.”

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