The rate of hospitalization for COVID-19 among kids ages 0-17 rose five-fold from late June to the middle of August as the delta variant took hold in the United States, the CDC said Friday.
Based on data from 14 states -- including New York and Connecticut -- the CDC said the COVID-associated hospitalization rate for children and adolescents the week ending Aug. 14 was 1.4, an increase of almost five times from the week ending June 26 and nearly an all-pandemic high.
To be sure, the CDC said the proportion of severely ill kids -- including those needing ICU admission -- was about the same after delta spiked as before.
But the overall hospitalization rate was sharply higher, and for kids ages 0-4, the rate was actually nearly 10 times higher.
The new data are sure to add fuel to the raging debate about how kids should return to school and social activity, especially since there are still no vaccines for those under 12.
Anecdotal evidence has suggested more kids were getting more sick as the delta variant took hold, but the CDC makes clear it's more than just an anecdote.
"Implementation of preventive measures to reduce transmission and severe outcomes in children is critical, including vaccination of eligible persons, universal mask wearing in schools, recommended mask wearing by persons aged ≥2 years in other indoor public spaces and child care centers, and quarantining as recommended after exposure to persons with COVID-19," the authors wrote in the CDC report accompanying the data.
The CDC also said that among kids ages 12-17 -- who are already eligible to be vaccinated -- the hospitalization rate was 10 times higher for the unvaccinated than for the fully vaccinated.