COVID-19 is a significant cause of death in children and young people in the U.S.


COVID-19 was the underlying explanation for dying for greater than 940,000 folks within the US, together with over 1,300 deaths amongst youngsters and younger folks aged 0–19 years. Till now, it had been unclear how the burden of deaths from COVID-19 in contrast with different main causes of deaths on this age group.

A brand new examine led by researchers on the College of Oxford’s Division of Laptop Science investigated this utilizing information from US Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention databases. The outcomes are revealed as we speak within the journal JAMA Community Open.

Key findings for the examine interval 1 August 2021 to 31 July 2022:

  • Amongst youngsters and younger folks aged 0 – 19 years within the US, COVID-19 ranked eighth amongst all causes of dying; fifth amongst all disease-related causes of dying; and first in deaths brought on by infectious or respiratory illnesses.
  • By age group, COVID-19 ranked seventh (infants), seventh (1–4 yr olds), sixth (5–9 yr olds), sixth (10–14 yr olds), and fifth (15–19 yr olds).
  • COVID-19 was the underlying trigger for two% of deaths in youngsters and younger folks (800 out of 43,000), with an total dying charge of 1.0 per 100,000 of the inhabitants aged 0–19. The main explanation for dying (perinatal situations) had an total dying charge of 12.7 per 100,000; COVID-19 ranked forward of influenza and pneumonia, which collectively had a dying charge of 0.6 per 100,000.
  • Like many illnesses, COVID-19 dying charges adopted a U-shaped sample throughout this age-range. COVID-19 dying charges had been highest in infants aged lower than one yr (4.3 per 100,000), second highest in these aged 15–19 years (1.8 per 100,000), and lowest in youngsters aged 5 –9 years (0.4 per 100,000).
  • Total, deaths in youngsters and younger folks had been greater in the course of the Delta and Omicron waves in comparison with earlier waves (pre-July 2021), seemingly reflecting the upper numbers contaminated throughout these intervals. However, within the pre-Delta interval of the pandemic, COVID-19 nonetheless ranked because the ninth main explanation for dying total.
  • The month with the best variety of COVID-19 associated deaths in 0 – 19 year-olds was January 2022 at 160.

Though COVID-19 amplifies the impacts of different illnesses (comparable to pneumonia and influenza), this examine focuses on deaths that had been instantly brought on by COVID-19, reasonably than these the place COVID-19 was a contributing trigger. Due to this fact, it’s seemingly that these outcomes understate the true burden of COVID-19 associated deaths on this age-group.

In contrast with different age-groups, the general danger of dying from COVID-19 was considerably decrease in youngsters and younger folks. For example, between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022, the COVID-19 dying charge amongst all ages within the US was 109 per 100,000. Nevertheless, as a result of deaths amongst youngsters and younger folks within the US are uncommon, the mortality burden of COVID-19 is greatest understood within the context of all different causes of dying on this age-group.

In response to the researchers, these outcomes counsel that, with variants of COVID-19 persevering with to flow into, public well being measures comparable to vaccinations, staying house when sick, and air flow nonetheless have an vital position to play in limiting transmission of the virus and mitigating extreme illness in youngsters and younger folks.

Affiliate Professor Seth Flaxman (Division of Laptop Science, College of Oxford), lead writer of the examine, stated: ‘These outcomes exhibit that whereas it is uncommon for teenagers and youths to die within the US, COVID-19 is now the main underlying explanation for dying from infectious illness for this age group. Lots of the 82 million American youngsters and younger folks had been contaminated in the course of the large Delta and Omicron waves, and consequently greater than 1,300 youngsters and younger folks have died from COVID-19 in the course of the pandemic, most within the final two years. Fortuitously, we now have an array of efficient instruments to attenuate danger, from constructing air flow to air purifiers to protected vaccines. Working collectively, communities can considerably restrict the extent of an infection and extreme illness.’

If you happen to take a look at infectious illnesses in youngsters within the US traditionally, within the interval earlier than vaccines turned out there, hepatitis A, rotavirus, rubella, and measles had been all main causes of dying. However after we in contrast these illnesses to COVID-19, we discovered that COVID-19 brought on considerably extra deaths in youngsters and younger folks than these different illnesses did earlier than vaccines turned out there; this demonstrates how severely we have to take COVID-19 prevention and mitigation measures for the youngest age teams within the US and worldwide.”

Robbie M. Parks, Assistant Professor, Mailman Faculty of Public Well being, Columbia College, Examine’s Co-Creator

Affiliate Professor Deepti Gurdasani, Kirby Institute, College of New South Wales, Sydney, a fellow co-author of the examine, stated: ‘It is clear that COVID-19 is a big explanation for dying in youngsters, being the main explanation for dying from infectious illness. Sadly, deaths from COVID-19 have continued to be vital in youngsters, even in the course of the Omicron period. We want mitigations (e.g., air flow, air cleansing) to guard youngsters from an infection, alongside accessible vaccination to cut back the chance from extreme illness.’

Co-author Dr Oliver Ratmann, from the Division of Arithmetic at Imperial Faculty London, stated: ‘The central level of this examine is that in youngsters, the severity of COVID-19 an infection is greatest understood by evaluating like for like, i.e. relative to different causes of dying in youngsters. We present that COVID-19 was a top-ten main explanation for dying in youngsters in 2021-22 and the main explanation for dying in youngsters from any infectious illness. So, COVID-19 is much from a innocent an infection in youngsters.’


Journal reference:

Flaxman, S., et al. (2023) Evaluation of COVID-19 because the Underlying Explanation for Dying Amongst Kids and Younger Folks Aged 0 to 19 Years within the US. JAMA Community Open.

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