New Jersey

6 NJ Kids Hospitalized With Dangerous Inflammatory Syndrome, Highest in One Day

Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli also said that there have been four pediatric deaths, including three infants, associated with the coronavirus in the state since Christmas

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New Jersey has reported a single-day record number of a dangerous multisystem inflammatory syndrome called MIS-C in children, the state's health commissioner said Monday.

Of the six new cases reported on Friday, all of the children are currently hospitalized, according to Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli who warned parents that COVID-19 cases aren't always mild in children and urged everyone around kids who aren't eligible for the vaccine to protect them by getting the shots.

Persichilli also said Monday that there have been four pediatric deaths, including three infants, associated with the coronavirus in the state since Christmas. She added that there were no reports of "significant underlying conditions" for any of the children.

The latest deaths were two infants under 10-months-old, the health commissioner said. In total, there have been 12 pediatric deaths across the state.

"While it is difficult to know for sure if COVID-19 directly contributed to these deaths as opposed to what is termed an incidental infection, I want to remind parents to take all necessary precautions to prevent infants from exposure to the virus," Persichilli said.

"This includes making sure those around your infants are up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and avoid crowded gatherings," she added.

Several studies have found that vaccines are highly effective in preventing hospitalizations. One published by the CDC, which examined hospitalizations in 10 states, found that booster shots were even more effective against the latest surge of the omicron variant (94%) compared to the delta variant surge (90%), Persichilli said.

She also cited another study that found unvaccinated Americans, 50 years and older, were about 45 times more likely to be hospitalized than those who were vaccinated and had received a third dose.

Kids under age 5 are still not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine — and now hospitals are seeing a spike in children infected with the Omicron variant of the virus. In New York City, pediatric hospitalizations have quadrupled. And data shows huge percentages of child COVID patients have not been fully vaccinated yet, either due to choice or because they're ineligible, says Dr. Colleen Kraft of Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
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