In Michigan, a record-breaking number of children have been hospitalized with Covid

DETROIT — Among the many alarming consequences of Michigan’s recent Covid-19 surge is one that has doctors particularly concerned: a record-breaking spike in child hospitalizations.

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Data from the Michigan Health & Hospital Association shows that the number of children hospitalized with severe Covid-19 symptoms hit a high of 70 this week — twice as many as were hospitalized during the worst days of the wave that swept the state in November.

The numbers have public officials across the country watching Michigan, raising questions about why the B.1.1.7, or U.K., coronavirus variant behind the latest wave here is leading to more cases of children who are seriously ill.

“That’s the burning answer in my mind,” said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, an infectious disease pediatrician at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, which is treating eight children with severe Covid-19 symptoms, including five who are in intensive care units.

“I can’t say that this variant is all of a sudden making children much sicker,” she said, noting that the increase in hospitalizations is more likely the result of more children getting infected “but we are experiencing a really severe surge.”

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