Objectives: Describe population-based rates and risk factors for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (ie, ICU admission, invasive mechanical ventilation, or death) among hospitalized children.
Methods: During March 2020 to May 2021, the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network identified 3106 children hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection in 14 states. Among 2293 children primarily admitted for COVID-19, multivariable generalized estimating equations generated adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of the associations between demographic and medical characteristics abstracted from medical records and severe COVID-19. We calculated age-adjusted cumulative population-based rates of severe COVID-19 among all children.
Results: Approximately 30% of hospitalized children had severe COVID-19; 0.5% died during hospitalization. Among hospitalized children aged <2 years, chronic lung disease (aRR: 2.2; 95% CI: 1.1-4.3), neurologic disorders (aRR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.5‒2.6), cardiovascular disease (aRR: 1.7; 95% CI: 1.2‒2.3), prematurity (aRR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1‒2.2), and airway abnormality (aRR: 1.6; 95% CI: 1.1‒2.2) were associated with severe COVID-19. Among hospitalized children aged 2 to 17 years, feeding tube dependence (aRR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.5‒2.5), diabetes mellitus (aRR: 1.9; 95% CI: 1.6‒2.3) and obesity (aRR: 1.2; 95% CI: 1.0‒1.4) were associated with severe COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 occurred among 12.0 per 100 000 children overall and was highest among infants, Hispanic children, and non-Hispanic Black children.
Conclusions: Results identify children at potentially higher risk of severe COVID-19 who may benefit from prevention efforts, including vaccination. Rates establish a baseline for monitoring changes in pediatric illness severity after increased availability of COVID-19 vaccines and the emergence of new variants.
Copyright © 2022 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.