New study: California hospitalization rates ‘greatly overestimate true burden of Covid-19’ in children

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For months California has forced children two years or older to wear masks on the basis that the numbers showed they were at high risk of contracting the coronavirus.

Yet according to two studies published Wednesday in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ “Hospital Pediatrics” journal, the number of California children who were hospitalized for the virus was “grossly inflated,” as reported by New York magazine.

Conducted at a children’s hospital in Northern California, one study found that of all hospitalized children who’d tested positive for the coronavirus, a notable 45 percent percent of them “were unlikely” hospitalized because of the virus itself.

“The reasons for hospital admission for these ‘unlikely’ patients included surgeries, cancer treatment, a psychiatric episode, urologic issues, and various infections such as cellulitis, among other diagnoses,” according to New York magazine.

The study also found that 46 percent of the children were asymptomatic, meaning their symptoms weren’t even noticeable/detectable.

Conducted at an exceptionally large children’s hospital in California, the second study found that of the 146 children hospitalized for the coronavirus, 58 percent had an “incidental” diagnosis, meaning their hospitalization was not due to the virus itself.

“An example of incidentally SARS-CoV-2-positive patients are those who came to the hospital because of fractures. Patients who may have had COVID-19 symptoms but who had a clearly documented alternative reason for them, such as a child with abdominal pain and fever found to be related to an abdominal abscess, were also deemed to have incidental diagnosis,” according to New York magazine.

According to a summary of the studies written by Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, and Amy Beck, an associate professor of pediatrics at the same university, these findings demonstrate that California’s reported hospitalization rates “greatly overestimate the true burden of COVID-19 disease in children.”

Moreover, in a statement to New York magazine, Gandhi said that there’s “no reason to think these findings would be exclusive to California,” meaning she suspects the same phenomenon has played out in other states as well.

The publication of these studies comes as California is doubling down on its mask mandate, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announcing last week that those who’ve been vaccinated are now safe to return to unmasked living.

“California will keep its existing mask requirements in place for another month, state health officials announced Monday,” CapRadio, the public radio service of California State University, Sacramento, reported Monday.

“As other states loosen or discard mask rules in the wake of new federal guidance that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear face coverings, the Golden State will stay its course until June 15, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a media call,” the report added.

But the studies’ implications go far beyond mask mandates, according to New York magazine.

“Untold numbers of parents have kept children home from school or limited playdates and other activities out of fear their children would be infected and fall seriously ill. … Pediatric hospitalization figures for COVID-19 also influence policy on school openings and guidelines, camp recommendations, and other political decisions,” the left-wing publication noted.

Or as Gandhi and Beck put it in their summary, “Children have suffered tremendously due to policies that have kept schools and recreational facilities closed to them, and the burden has been greatest on children who are low-income and English-language learners.”

In other words, “children have suffered tremendously” because of bad data.

Families have also been encouraged by the CDC to vaccinate their children because of this bad data:

What remains unclear is who or what deserves blame for this monumental error. What’s known is that whenever dissidents tried during the early part of the pandemic to raise concerns about false data, they were smeared as conspiracy theorists.

“Some of the biggest names in right-wing media are questioning the official Covid-19 death toll. … Right-wing media luminaries are advancing their theory in the face of reporting which indicates that the coronavirus death toll is being understated,” CNN complained last April.

“It’s the notion that some Trump allies and conservative media figures just can’t kick: The idea that the official death toll from the coronavirus is being inflated. … Unfortunately, their latest theory is just as specious as its predecessors,” The Washington Post added.

Not until the latter portion of the pandemic did the media begin to entertain the idea of faulty data. Once New York Gov Andrew Cuomo’s administration was busted a couple months back for purposefully doctoring data, the doors finally flung open.

Dovetailing back to the present, Gandhi and Beck noted in their summary that the latest findings “clearly illustrate the need to perform similar retrospective chart reviews for COVID-19-coded adult hospitalizations and overall mortality.”

Nobody tell CNN and the Post …

Gandhi and Beck added, “Scientific and media reports that inaccurately portray the risk of COVID-19 to children can do harm by alarming parents and providing justification for ongoing restrictions to in-person education and other programming.”

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Vivek Saxena

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