Home Emergency Medicine Odds of Severe COVID-19 Disease Lower for Children During Omicron Predominance

Odds of Severe COVID-19 Disease Lower for Children During Omicron Predominance

Omicron cases had the highest hospital admission frequency; however, odds of severe illness lower than with delta and alpha variants

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 27, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For children, severe COVID-19 disease occurred less during omicron than during alpha- and delta-predominant periods, according to a study published in the February issue of The Lancet Regional Health Americas.

Amir Bahl, M.D., from Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, and colleagues examined COVID-19 outcomes in pediatric patients using data obtained from three distinct time intervals (T) coinciding with predominance of the alpha, delta, and omicron variants (T1: January through June 2021; T2: July through December 2021; and T3: Jan. 1 through June 16, 2022).

From Jan. 1, 2021, to June 16, 2022, there were 4,517 emergency COVID-19 visits; 566 children (12.5 percent) were hospitalized. The researchers observed an increase in the proportion of infants hospitalized during the course of the pandemic, from 16.7 to 19.6 to 28.5 percent in T1, T2, and T3, respectively, while a decrease was seen in the proportion of teenagers hospitalized from 39.1 to 31.3 to 22.1 percent, respectively. A minority of cases (29.9 percent) required oxygen therapy, with supplemental oxygen used the least and the most in T3 and T2, respectively (16.5 and 30.2 percent, respectively). Composite severe disease decreased through the pandemic from 36.2 to 27.4 to 18.9 percent, respectively, in T1, T2, and T3. The odds of composite severe disease were significantly lower in T3 than T1 (adjusted odds ratio, 0.35). Viral coinfection occurred most often during T2 followed by T3 and T1 (16.8, 12.5, and 5.1 percent, respectively).

“While our findings highlight viral coinfection as a risk factor for more severe disease, the concept of viral coinfection in the setting of COVID-19 needs further exploration in children,” the authors write.

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