Covid-19 is the leading cause of death for children in the US, despite a relatively low death rate

Covid-19 is the leading cause of death for children in the US, despite a relatively low death rate


Covid-19 has become the eighth most common cause of death among children in the United States, according to the data study published on Monday.

Children are significantly less likely to die from Covid-19 than any other age group – less than 1% of all deaths since the start of the pandemic have been among those under 18, according to the federal data. Covid-19 is the third leading cause of death in the general population.

But it is rare for children to die from any cause, the researchers wrote, so the burden of Covid-19 is best understood in the context of other pediatric deaths.

“Pediatric deaths are rare by any standard. It’s something we don’t expect to happen and it’s a tragedy in a unique way. It’s a really significant event,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

“Everyone knows that Covid is most severe in the elderly and people with weakened immunity, and that it is easier in children, but that does not mean that it is a benign disease in children. Just because the numbers are much lower in children doesn’t mean they don’t have an impact.”

In 2019, the last year before the pandemic, the leading causes of death among children and youth aged 0-19 years included perinatal conditions, unintentional injuries, congenital malformations or deformities, assault, suicide, malignant neoplasms, heart disease, and influenza and pneumonia.

A researcher’s analysis of data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there were 821 deaths from Covid-19 in this age group in the 12-month period from August 2021 to July 2022. That death rate – about 1 in every 100,000 children from 0 to 19 years old – ranks eighth compared to data from 2019. It ranks fifth among adolescents aged 15 to 19.

Deaths from Covid-19 are displacing influenza and pneumonia as the leading cause of death from any infectious or respiratory disease. It has caused “significantly” more deaths than any vaccine-preventable disease in history, the researchers wrote.

According to the CDC data, children are less vaccinated against Covid-19 than any other age group in the US. Less than 10% of eligible children have received up-to-date vaccinations, and more than 90% of children under 5 are completely unvaccinated.

“If we looked at all these other leading causes of death — whether you’re talking about traffic accidents or childhood cancer — and we said, ‘Gosh, if we had some simple, safe thing we could do to get rid of one of those, we wouldn’t did you just jump on it?” And we have that with Covid with vaccines,” said O’Leary, who is also a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado.

CDC review of blood samples suggests that more than 90% of children have already had Covid-19 at least once.

There is uncertainty about exactly how much risk the virus will continue to pose, O’Leary said, but the potential benefits of vaccination clearly outweigh any possible risks.

“Vaccination is clearly our best option at this point,” and the benefits clearly outweigh the risks, he said. “Better safe than sorry.”

The new study’s findings, published in JAMA Network Open, may underestimate the mortality burden of Covid-19 because the analysis focuses on deaths in which Covid-19 was the underlying cause of death, but not those in which it may have been a contributing factor. the researchers wrote. Also, other analyzes of excess deaths suggest that deaths from Covid-19 are underreported.

As Covid-19 continues to spread in the US, researchers say interventional methods such as vaccination and ventilation “will continue to play an important role in limiting viral transmission and mitigating severe disease.”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *