Omicron in children: Cases remain mild despite rise in hospitalisations


Staff wearing PPE take a child's temperature at a London school

More school-aged children are being infected by omicron, but findings suggest it causes less severe disease than previous variants

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Several countries are reporting record numbers of children being hospitalised as omicron spreads, with babies especially likely to be admitted. While this has led to claims that omicron is more likely to cause severe illness in children, in fact almost all the evidence suggests that, compared with earlier variants, omicron causes less severe illness in infected children.

“This is a very reassuring picture,” says Camilla Kingdon at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK.

The scale of hospitalisations of children is largely due to the record number of omicron cases. “There are clearly more admissions of children because there are more…

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