Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: Department of Health & Human Services, University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project, and Zach Levin; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Children's hospitals across the country say they're still seeing a surge of kids suffering from a serious illness that typically follows coronavirus infections.

The big picture: Severe coronavirus infections in children remain extremely rare, compared to the risk to adults. But persistent side effects from those infections mean that kids' hospitalization rates don't exactly mirror adults'.

Even as coronavirus hospitalizations decline overall, children's hospitals say they're still seeing large numbers of kids suffering from multisystem inflammatory syndrome, commonly known MIS-C, — a serious illness that generally occurs several weeks after a child is infected with the coronavirus.

  • MIS-C can cause inflammation in various body parts, and symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases occur in children between 1 and 14 years old, and the condition disproportionately effects children of color, per the CDC.
  • "As the population in general seems to have fewer active cases, we are seeing more children being admitted with COVID-related problems, but most of those — I'd say more than half over the last five weeks — are children who have MIS-C," said Rob McGregor, chief medical officer at Akron Children’s Hospital.

What they're saying: Hospitals say the disease seems to be more common now than it was earlier in the pandemic, and children are sicker now than they were in earlier surges.

  • "The MIS-C has really hit us this time, and the last month has been way higher numbers and higher acuity than we [had] before with MIS-C — and that's hard to explain," said Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care at Texas Children's Hospital.
  • Unlike other children's hospitals interviewed by Axios, Texas Children's has also seen more severe cases of acute COVID too. "It feels like ... we have seen in the last two three months patients who are sicker when they present with COVID than we did in the early experience," Shekerdemian added.

By the numbers: Pediatric COVID-related hospitalizations increased by 50% between Oct. 1 and Jan. 7, according to an analysis of Health and Human Services data by the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Hospitalization Tracking Project.

  • Adult hospitalizations rose by almost 300% over the same period.
  • Adult hospitalizations have since fallen by 54%, while children's hospitalizations are down by 25%.
  • As cases began to rise in late November and December, "based on our experience, we said OK, MIS-C task force, mark your calendars," said Roberta DeBiasi, chief of the Division of Pediatric Diseases at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. That surge began in January, and continues today.
  • The CDC only has complete information on the number of MIS-C cases specifically through mid-December, when they were on the rise.

What we're watching: The children's hospitals said that, based on previous trends, they expect the number of hospitalizations to fall in the coming weeks, a delayed result of the coronavirus's lower community prevalence.

  • "It seems like the peaks we had in the children's hospital lagged a little behind those we were seeing in the adult systems," said Ronald Ford, chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. "I would expect peds admissions to start to fall. Now, the big unknown here for everyone is how these new variants are going to affect things."
  • He said it's still unclear how the new virus variants impact children, and that it's a "distinct possibility" that they could be related to more severe cases of MIS-C.
  • "We don't know, but that’s one of those things that will have to be studied and looked into, if different variants have a different rate of severity of MIS-C in children," he added.

Go deeper

Biden administration reopens Trump-era facility for migrant children

Tents at the Influx Care Facility for unaccompanied children on Feb. 21 in Carrizo Springs, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Biden administration reopened a temporary facility for unaccompanied migrant children in Carrizo Springs, Texas, on Monday, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Officials say the camp is necessary because of an uptick in migrant children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has reduced the federal government's capacity to house children before they can be reunited with sponsors.

Feb 23, 2021 - Health

Pfizer and Moderna expect to double vaccine shipments by spring

UCHealth pharmacist Marissa Kim prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 20 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Moderna and Pfizer plan to significantly boost vaccine shipments to the U.S. government by this spring, according to written testimony from company executives released Tuesday ahead of a House committee hearing on vaccines.

Where it stands: Pfizer expects to increase its weekly vaccine delivery from 4-5 million doses at the start of February to more than 13 million doses by mid-March, said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer.