The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) released Friday includes new data on the rarity of pediatric deaths from COVID-19.
The report examines trends in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and emergency department visits among children between Aug. 1, 2020, and Aug. 21, 2021. It found that among hospitals in the BD Insights Research Database (BDIRD), the rate of pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 that resulted in deaths was just 0.4%.
The BDIRD is a large-scale U.S. hospital-based database that contains inpatient data from approximately 260 hospitals. 140 of those hospitals had COVID-19 hospitalizations of patients between ages 0-17 during the observed one-year period, with over half of those coming in the area defined by the Department of Health and Human Services as the “South.” (RELATED: New Jersey Reportedly Offers Reduced Prison Sentences If Inmates Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19)
The BDIRD database identified 1,790 hospitalized COVID-19 patients below age 18 during the 12-month-plus period examined. The median length of those hospitalizations was only 2-3 days. The portion of patients who required ICU admission ranged between 10%-25% during the entire period and was 20% during July 2021 and 18% during August 2021.
Between 0% and 3% of those patients required a ventilator at some point during the period, and just eight patients – 0.4% of those admitted to the hospital died due to COVID-19-related causes.
The MMWR also reported that in August, hospitalizations increased four times more among children in states in the bottom quartile of total vaccination rate than those in the top quartile. Children under 12 years old are still ineligible for COVID-19 vaccination, increasing the importance of community vaccination rates in their health outcomes.
COVID-19 cases among children have increased exponentially since the pandemic’s recent low-point in the early summer, with case rates going up more than tenfold for the 5-11 year and 12-15 year age brackets since early June. However, the death rate among pediatric cases remains below 0.01 per 100,000 people, compared to 0.19 for ages 50-64, 0.31 for ages 65-74, and 0.89 for age 75 and above, according to the CDC.