Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) organized a briefing with the media to give an update to the public on the COVID-19 pandemic.
One point made by Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director for the CDC, is that “pediatric hospitalizations are at the highest rate than at any point in the pandemic.”
She also commented that, now, unlike previously in the pandemic, it’s not a matter of having open hospital beds; rather, it's a struggle to have enough healthcare workers to take care of sick patients.
Despite that, Walensky encouraged schools across the country to continue following their guidance to keep children safely in school buildings.
She pointed out the recently-updated guidance, which includes adults being eligible for a booster shot five months after the second dose of Pfizer’s vaccine rather than six months, as well as booster shots now being available to ages 12-17.
Walensky also stuck by the new CDC isolation guidance after someone tests positive for COVID-19.
The CDC says:
"Additionally, CDC is updating the recommended quarantine period for anyone in the general public who is exposed to COVID-19. For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. Alternatively, if a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure. Individuals who have received their booster shot do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure. For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19."
At Friday’s briefing, Walensky noted that just over 50% of children ages 12 to 18 are fully vaccinated and only 16% of those 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated. As of Tuesday, the average number of children and teens admitted to the hospital per day with COVID-19 was 766, double the figure reported just two weeks ago.
Data suggest booster shots offer the best protection against omicron, and CDC this week recommended them for kids as young as 12.