Penn Towne (PA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated

National Covid-19 Task Force Update

If some of you are still looking for a compelling reason to get vaccinated, consider this, there has been a significant spike of COVID cases reported in children. Over the past two weeks there has been a 20.7% increase in cases, anywhere from 1.6% to 4.4% of total cumulated hospitalizations, and 0.1% -1.5% of child COVID cases resulting in hospitalizations according to the American Academy of Pediatrics Children and COVID-19 State Level Data Report released January 27, 2022. More than 82,000 children have been hospitalized since the onset of the pandemic. Many children who contract COVID-19 are asymptomatic and passing it on in multi-generational homes.

Additionally, reported COVID-19 cases among children have spiked dramatically in 2022 during the Omicron variant surge, with more than 3.5 million child cases reported in January. For the week ending January 27, more than 808,000 additional child COVID-19 cases were reported, down from the peak level of 1,150,000 reported the week ending January 20. However, child cases this week remained extremely high, triple the peak level of the Delta surge in 2021.

More than 11.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic; nearly two million of these cases have been added in the past two weeks. For the 25th week in a row, child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000. Since the first week of September, there have been almost 6.4 million additional child cases.

As we have continually informed you, the disparities in the African American community are glaring. The January 31 Kaiser Foundation report states that “Black children had lower vaccination rates than white children in most but not all reporting states. Overall, it remains challenging to draw strong conclusions about racial equity in COVID-19 vaccinations among children due to the dearth of comprehensive data, inconsistency in reporting, and the lack of disaggregated data for smaller racial/ethnic groups, particularly NHOPI children.”

CDC Pediatric Data
COVID-19 can cause severe illness in children. Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness, although children without underlying medical conditions can also experience severe illness. Current evidence suggests that children with special healthcare needs, including genetic, neurologic, or metabolic conditions, or with congenital heart disease can be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Like adults, children with diabetes, asthma, chronic lung disease, sickle cell disease, or immunosuppression as well as those that are obese can also be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Though it is rare, some children who have had COVID-19 may later develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19. Additionally, children and teens ages 18 years and younger who have had COVID-19 are up to 2.5 times more likely to be newly diagnosed with diabetes 30 days or more after infection.

For the health of our children and ourselves, please continue to practice safety protocols — masking, hand hygiene, and social distancing — to mitigate the spread of the virus. Visit CDC.gov for more information.

We Can Do This
We’ve partnered with the HHS COVID-19 public education campaign, We Can Do This, because the health of our members and our community is paramount. A host of resources are available to support the outreach efforts of both organizations and individuals, including a Parents Toolkit designed to increase confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among children ages 5-17 and their parents/guardians. It includes information from CDC and culturally tailored campaign materials created by a team of multicultural experts. Click here to access the Parents Toolkit or visit https://wecandothis.hhs.gov to learn more about the campaign.