- Children and COVID19: State Level Data Report
State-level reports are the best publicly available and timely data on child COVID-19 cases in the United States. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association are collaborating to collect and share all publicly available data from states on child COVID-19 cases. The definition of “child” case is based on varying age ranges reported across states (see report Appendix for details and links to all data sources). COVID-19 cases among US children have reached the highest case count ever reported since the start of the pandemic. For the week ending December 30th, over 325,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported. This number is a 64% increase over the 199,000 added cases reported the week ending December 23rd and an almost doubling of case counts from the two weeks prior. Nearly 7.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, representing over 1 in 10 US children. For the 21st week in a row child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000. Since the first week of September, there have been over 2.8 million additional child cases.
- Hospitalization of Infants and Children Aged 0–4 Years with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 2020–February 2022
During omicron variant predominance beginning in late December 2021, U.S. infants and children aged 0-4 years were hospitalized at approximately five times the rate of the previous peak during Delta variant predominance. Infant aged <6 months had the highest rates of hospitalization. Important strategies to prevent COVID-19 among infants and young children include vaccination of currently eligible populations such as pregnant women, family members, and caregivers of infants and young children.
- Effectiveness of 2-Dose BNT162b2 (Pfizer BioNTech) mRNA Vaccine in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children Aged 5–11 Years and Adolescents Aged 12–15 Years — PROTECT Cohort, July 2021–February 2022
Receipt of 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing infection with the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant in persons aged ≥12 years. Children and adolescents aged 5–15 years were tested for SARS-CoV-2 weekly, irrespective of symptoms, during July 2021–February 2022. Approximately one half of Omicron infections in unvaccinated children and adolescents were asymptomatic. Two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine reduced the risk of Omicron infection by 31% among children aged 5–11 years and by 59% among persons aged 12–15 years. All eligible children and adolescents should remain up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccinations.
- High vaccine effectiveness against severe Covid-19 in the elderly in Finland before and after the emergence of Omicron
The elderly are highly vulnerable to severe Covid-19. Waning immunity and emergence of Omicron have caused concerns about reduced effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines. The objective was to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) against severe Covid-19 among the elderly. This nationwide, register-based cohort study included all residents aged 70 years and over in Finland. The follow-up started on December 27, 2020, and ended on February 19, 2022. The study outcomes were Covid-19-related hospitalization and intensive care unit (ICU) admission timely associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. VE was estimated as 1 minus the hazard ratio comparing the vaccinated and unvaccinated and taking into account time since vaccination. Omicron-specific VE was evaluated as the effectiveness observed since January 01, 2022. The cohort included 897932 individuals. Comirnaty (BioNTech/Pfizer) VE against Covid-19-related hospitalization was 93% (95% confidence interval [CI], 90%–95%) and 87% (84%–89%) 14–90 and 91–180 days after the second dose; VE increased to 96% (95%–97%) 14–60 days after the third dose. VE of other homologous and heterologous 3-dose series was similar. Protection against severe Covid-19 requiring ICU treatment was even better. Since January 01, 2022, Comirnaty VE was 91% (95% CI, 79%–96%) and 76% (56%–86%) 14–90 and 91–180 days after the second and 95% (94%–97%) 14–60 days after the third dose. VE against severe Covid-19 is high among the elderly. It waned slightly after 2 doses, but a third restored the protection. VE against severe Covid-19 remained high even after the emergence of Omicron.
- Comparison of Seroconversion in Children and Adults With Mild COVID-19
In this cohort study of 57 children and 51 adults, the proportion of children with seroconversion to SARS-CoV-2 was half that found in adults despite similar viral load. These findings suggest that serology may provide a less reliable marker of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and support strategies to protect children against COVID-19, including vaccination.
- Identification of Distinct Long COVID Clinical Phenotypes Through Cluster Analysis of Self-Reported Symptom
Study researchers aimed to describe the clinical presentation of individuals presenting with prolonged recovery from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), known as long COVID. This was an analysis within a multicenter, prospective cohort study of individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 and persistent symptoms >4 weeks from onset of acute symptoms. Researchers performed a multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) on the most common self-reported symptoms and hierarchical clustering on the results of the MCA to identify symptom clusters. Two hundred thirty-three individuals were included in the analysis; the median age of the cohort was 43 (interquartile range [IQR], 36–54) years, 74% were women, and 77.3% reported a mild initial illness. MCA and hierarchical clustering revealed 3 clusters. Cluster 1 had predominantly pain symptoms with a higher proportion of joint pain, myalgia, and headache; cluster 2 had a preponderance of cardiovascular symptoms with prominent chest pain, shortness of breath, and palpitations; and cluster 3 had significantly fewer symptoms than the other clusters (2 [IQR, 2–3] symptoms per individual in cluster 3 vs 6 [IQR, 5–7] and 4 [IQR, 3–5] in clusters 1 and 2, respectively; P < .001). Clusters 1 and 2 had greater functional impairment, demonstrated by significantly longer work absence, higher dyspnea scores, and lower scores in SF-36 domains of general health, physical functioning, and role limitation due to physical functioning and social functioning. Clusters of symptoms are evident in long COVID patients that are associated with functional impairments and may point to distinct underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease.
- Estimating excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic analysis of COVID-19-related mortality, 2020–21
Mortality statistics are fundamental to public health decision making. Mortality varies by time and location, and its measurement is affected by well-known biases that have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper aims to estimate excess mortality from the COVID-19 pandemic in 191 countries and territories, and 252 subnational units for selected countries, from Jan 1, 2020, to Dec 31, 2021. All-cause mortality reports were collected for 74 countries and territories and 266 subnational locations (including 31 locations in low-income and middle-income countries) that had reported either weekly or monthly deaths from all causes during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and for up to 11 year previously. In addition, researchers obtained excess mortality data for 12 states in India. Excess mortality over time was calculated as observed mortality, after excluding data from periods affected by late registration and anomalies such as heat waves, minus expected mortality. Six models were used to estimate expected mortality; final estimates of expected mortality were based on an ensemble of these models. Although reported COVID-19 deaths between Jan 1, 2020, and Dec 31, 2021, totaled 5·94 million worldwide, researchers estimate that 18.2 million (95% uncertainty interval 17·1–19·6) people died worldwide because of the COVID-19 pandemic (as measured by excess mortality) over that period. The global all-age rate of excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic was 120·3 deaths (113·1–129·3) per 100 000 of the population, and excess mortality rate exceeded 300 deaths per 100 000 of the population in 21 countries. The number of excess deaths due to COVID-19 was largest in the regions of south Asia, north Africa and the Middle East, and eastern Europe. At the country level, the highest numbers of cumulative excess deaths due to COVID-19 were estimated in India (4·07 million [3·71–4·36]), the USA (1·13 million [1·08–1·18]), Russia (1·07 million [1·06–1·08]), Mexico (798 000 [741 000–867 000]), Brazil (792 000 [730 000–847 000]), Indonesia (736 000 [594 000–955 000]), and Pakistan (664 000 [498 000–847 000]). Among these countries, the excess mortality rate was highest in Russia (374·6 deaths [369·7–378·4] per 100 000) and Mexico (325·1 [301·6–353·3] per 100 000), and was similar in Brazil (186·9 [172·2–199·8] per 100 000) and the USA (179·3 [170·7–187·5] per 100 000). The full impact of the pandemic has been much greater than what is indicated by reported deaths due to COVID-19 alone. Strengthening death registration systems around the world, long understood to be crucial to global public health strategy, is necessary for improved monitoring of this pandemic and future pandemics. In addition, further research is warranted to help distinguish the proportion of excess mortality that was directly caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection and the changes in causes of death as an indirect consequence of the pandemic.