Record numbers of young children are being admitted to hospital with coronavirus in England, figures have revealed.
It comes amid warnings that the transmission of the Omicron variant is “eye-wateringly high” and scientists and politicians comb the data to understand the full extent of its impact.
The latest government data showed there were 196 children aged 0-5 admitted to hospital, according to the rolling weekly average up to 18 December.
A record of 38 children in that age group were admitted to hospitals in England on 15 December alone, the figures show. The rolling weekly average for 0-5s has risen steadily in December, from a figure of 100 on 29 November.
There is no suggestion that the Omicron variant of coronavirus is more severe for young children. It is thought the rise in child admissions is, in part, a result of an increase in Covid cases for that age group overall.
According to the government data, there were 312.5 cases per 100,000 in the 0-4 age group in the rolling weekly average up to 14 December. On 30 November, the rate was 260.1 per 100,000. At the beginning of November, it was at 162.2 per 100,000.
According to the latest government data, 919 people were admitted to hospitals in the UK on 14 December.