With the highly transmissible COVID-19 Omicron variant continuing to spread rapidly, many parents are concerned about their children’s health and risk for becoming ill with the disease.
First detected in November, Omicron has fueled a surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among people of all ages, particularly among those who are not vaccinated against the disease.
“Although Omicron has led to an increase in cases and hospitalizations among all children, the numbers are rising most substantially among babies and those in their early school years who aren’t yet eligible for the vaccine,” says Dr. Lucretia Carter, a pediatrician at Tidelands Health Pediatrics with a background in virology and vaccine development. “As with other variants, kids tend to fair better than adults, although some children do suffer severe symptoms that require hospitalization.
“Fortunately, the children I’ve treated have done well with outpatient management and symptomatic care,” says Dr. Carter, medical director of pediatrics for the health system. “None have required hospitalization or advanced treatment, though we know that’s certainly a risk for kids, particularly among those who aren’t vaccinated.”
Here are a few facts parents should know about the Omicron variant: