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Number of children infected with Omicron growing in the USA

The Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus has caused a significant increase in COVID-19 cases among American children. A nationwide survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in 86,000 blood samples taken from children aged 1–18 between September 2021 and February 2022. The number of children with antibodies against the virus—a sign of previous infection—practically doubled from December onward, which is when the variant arrived in the country. The proportion increased from 33% to 68% among children aged 1 to 4, from approximately 45% to 77% in children aged 5 to 11, and to 74% among children aged 12 to 17, according to a preprint describing the results, led by CDC epidemiologist Kristie Clarke (SSRN, May 4). The official infection rate in children under 18 in the country is 17%. “That’s just the tip of the iceberg,” Clarke told the journal Nature on May 5.