When COVID-19 hit the US in early 2020, the RTW Charitable Foundation was just getting off the ground. We quickly directed our first grant cycle to respond to our community's needs when New York City became the US epicenter of the COVID crisis. We reached out to Weill Cornell Medicine, one of the top academic medical centers in the country, and partnered with Dr. Erika Abramson, vice chair of health equity and medical education research and professor of pediatrics and of population health sciences, and Dr. Zachary Grinspan, interim chief of the Division of Child Neurology and associate professor of pediatrics and of population health sciences, to help them launch a large-scale COVID study aimed at understanding the disease’s epidemiology in pediatric patients. The Weill Cornell Medicine team used the INSIGHT Clinical Research Network, a database that includes five major New York City academic medical centers, and created a weekly working group of statisticians and doctors from different subspecialties to utilize the data.
So far, the team has launched eight studies around pediatric COVID prevalence and symptoms, two of which have been published in The Journal of Emergency Medicine and Children. Read more about their work and findings in the links below.
Weill Cornell Medicine investigators found an increased prevalence of COVID-19-associated croup during the Omicron period as compared to the pre-Omicron period, which affected an older pediatric patient population (6 years and older). Older children typically do not present with respiratory distress from viral-induced croup, meaning physicians often consider other diagnoses first. The information from this study is therefore very important to help guide the diagnosis, infection control, care and treatment options for children with croup.
In order to better understand clinical outcomes and health care utilization in children infected with SARS-CoV-2 during the Omicron wave, Weill Cornell Medicine investigators performed a cross-sectional study in pediatric patients under age 18 in a single pediatric emergency department from December 2, 2021 to January 23, 2022. Over the course of the study, there were 2,515 children tested for SARS-CoV-2, of whom 794 (31.6%) tested positive. 58 children were hospitalized for a COVID-19-related indication, representing 7.3% of all COVID-19-positive children. Eleven (19%) hospitalized children were admitted to the ICU and six (10%) required mechanical ventilation. Children with COVID-19 infections during the Omicron wave were at risk for COVID-19-related hospitalizations, including for management of croup, though severe disease warranting ICU admission or respiratory support was uncommon.