Hospital admissions for confirmed COVID-19 cases in kids under 18 are at their highest level in three months in the greater New York area -- and nationally, they're at the highest levels recorded yet.
Among kids ages 0-17 in HHS Region 2 (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), the rate of hospitalization with COVID per 100,000 people now stands at 0.19, according to CDC data through last Friday. That's the highest level since early May.
Nationally, the ratio is at 0.38 -- by far the highest yet in the CDC's dataset.
The increase in child hospitalizations comes amid the unchecked spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 nationwide, and growing evidence that the variant is more severe for children than past instances of the virus.
The CDC said last month that the delta variant is as contagious as the chickenpox, for decades a scourge of schools.
Last week New Jersey's health commissioner said the percentage of those hospitalized with COVID who were children had tripled since January.
The increase also comes as U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country.