Assessment of COVID-19 as the Underlying Cause of Death Among Children and Young People Aged 0 to 19 Years in the US

The study “Assessment of COVID-19 as the Underlying Cause of Death Among Children and Young People Aged 0 to 19 Years in the US” provides a comprehensive analysis of COVID-19 mortality among children and young people (CYP) in the United States.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Study Overview and Objective

  • The study aimed to assess COVID-19’s role as a leading cause of death among CYP aged 0 to 19 in the US. It examined over 940,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US, including at least 1,289 deaths among CYP, with 821 occurring between August 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022​​.

Methodology and Results

  • The study was a national population-level cross-sectional epidemiological analysis, using data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers focused on the mortality burden of COVID-19 compared to other causes of death for CYP.
  • The study found that there were 821 COVID-19 deaths among CYP during the study period. The crude death rate was 1.0 per 100,000 population overall, with the highest rate in infants under one year and adolescents aged 15 to 19 years.
  • COVID-19 was ranked as one of the top 10 leading causes of death among CYP during this period. It was the eighth leading cause of death overall, fifth among disease-related causes (excluding unintentional injuries, assault, and suicide), and first in deaths caused by infectious or respiratory diseases compared to 2019. COVID-19 deaths constituted 2% of all causes of death in this age group​​.

Implications and Public Health Relevance

  • The study highlights the significant impact of COVID-19 on CYP mortality, emphasizing its ranking as a leading cause of death in this demographic. The increased mortality during the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic reflected the high infection rates among CYP.
  • The authors suggest that sustained SARS-CoV-2 transmission and the potential emergence of new variants warrant the continued use of a broad range of tools, including vaccination, pharmaceutical treatments, and nonpharmaceutical interventions, to limit infection and severe disease among CYP​​.

Limitations

  • The study acknowledges several limitations, including potential underestimation of the true mortality burden due to underreporting of COVID-19 deaths, heterogeneous criteria for determining COVID-19 deaths across the US, and the possibility that COVID-19 may amplify the severe impacts of other diseases. Additionally, the study did not account for long-term sequelae of COVID-19 in children and adolescents, which may not have been captured in the data​​.

In summary, this study provides crucial insights into the mortality impact of COVID-19 among children and young people in the US, underscoring the virus’s significant public health relevance and the need for ongoing preventive measures and interventions in this age group.

Read More: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2800816

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