Covid-19: New York sees an increase in child hospitalizations

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread in the United States. In New York, health authorities are seeing an increase in the number of children hospitalized in connection with Covid-19, while the White House promised Sunday, December 26 to quickly resolve the shortage of tests in the country.

New York State Department of Health « Is closely monitoring an increasing trend in pediatric hospitalizations associated with Covid-19 », according to a statement released Friday. « The biggest increase concerns the city of New York with admissions which have quadrupled » between the week of December 5 and that of December 19, it is specified. Half of these admissions concern children under 5, so who are not yet old enough to be vaccinated.

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The number of Covid-19 cases in the country continues to rise, with nearly 190,000 new cases daily over the past seven days on average, according to figures from Johns-Hopkins University. The arrival of the new variant of the coronavirus, and the end-of-year celebrations, synonymous with travel and family reunion, have caused a rush on tests in the United States, where it is difficult in some places to obtain it. .

The shortage of tests « soon to be corrected »

The Dr Anthony Fauci, senior advisor to the White House in the fight against the pandemic, assured that this shortage would soon be resolved. “One of the problems right now is that [les tests] will not be fully available to everyone before January ”, the epidemiologist told ABC. « But we are tackling the problem of testing, and that, very soon, will be fixed », he continued, also acknowledging his frustration with these supply issues.

President Joe Biden resolved last week to announce massive purchases of tests by the federal state: 500 million kits, which will be distributed free of charge to whoever requests them. But these tests will not be delivered until January, which fuels strong criticism against the White House, whose strategy to fight Covid-19 has for weeks been mainly focused on vaccination.

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US executive spokeswoman Jen Psaki was questioned on December 6, days after Omicron was first detected in the United States, about the difficulty of accessing tests in the country. She had contented herself with ironising: « We should send all Americans a free test, right? » « 

The Dr Fauci also spoke on the question of Omicron and its dangerousness. Recognizing how the variant is « Extraordinarily contagious », he however welcomed the data from studies in South Africa and the United Kingdom which seem to indicate a lower dangerousness of the cases. « When you have such a large volume of new infections, it could exceed the actual reduction in dangerousness », however, he warned, fearing a congestion of the hospital system.

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The World with AFP

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