CDC says some adolescents with COVID-19 require ICU care

June 7, 2021

Among adolescents hospitalized for COVID-19, nearly one third required admission to an intensive care unit, and 5% required invasive mechanical ventilation but no associated deaths occurred, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

COVID-19 adolescent hospitalization rates peaked at 2.1 per 100,000 in early January 2021, declined to 0.6 in mid-March, and rose to 1.3 in April, the CDC reported.

Commenting on the findings, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, said, “Much of this suffering can be prevented. Until they are fully vaccinated, adolescents should continue to wear masks and take precautions when around others who are not vaccinated to protect themselves, and their family, friends, and community.”

To arrive at the findings, the CDC used data from the Coronavirus Disease 2019-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). The agency examined COVID-19-associated hospitalizations among adolescents 12-17 years old, including demographic and clinical characteristics of adolescents admitted during January 1-March 31, 2021, and hospitalization rates (hospitalizations per 100,000 persons) among adolescents during March 1, 2020-April 24, 2021.

The CDC also found that cumulative COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates during October 1, 2020-April 24, 2021, for adolescents, were 2.5-3.0 times higher than were influenza-associated hospitalization rates for adolescents from three recent influenza seasons (2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20), which the CDC obtained from the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET).

COVID-NET data indicate that COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates were lower in adolescents aged 12-17 years compared with those in adults but exceeded those among children aged 5-11 years during March 1, 2020-April 24, 2021.

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