Share of UK babies hospitalised with Omicron soars — Action News Now

Researchers urge calm despite noticing rise in babies infected with Covid’s most contagious variant

Figures released on Friday by the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned that the proportion of children under the age of one hospitalised with Covid has risen from 30% to 42% following an outbreak of the Omicron strain.

A study by the Coronavirus Clinical Characterization Consortium and the Covid-19 Clinical Information Network found that the proportion of infants requiring hospitalization has risen sharply recently compared with previous waves of the pandemic.

One reason put forward is that older children are already eligible and started to be vaccinated, while infants are still ineligible. However, this is considered unlikely because hospitalizations have also increased in the elderly population. Another explanation the researchers put forward is that younger children have smaller upper airways, so Omicron affects them more.

Despite the rise in cases, Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, urged the public to remain calm as infants often show only very mild symptoms.

“I really want to stress here the fact that these aren’t particularly sick babies. In fact, they just came in for a short period of time to investigate,” Semper told British media.

Dr Camilla Kingdon, head of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, confirmed this view, saying medical professionals are not “Gather any overly focused signals.”

She added that most babies are thought to have just a fever and cough after contracting the virus.

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