California pediatric hospitalizations surge as Newsom boasts about handling of pandemic

A child gets a COVID-19 test (Credit: Envato)

Daily confirmed pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in California reached an average of 102 for the week ending Sept. 2. This is 770 percent above the level in early June 2021 before schools reopened and just 29 percent below their previous record of 144 in January 2021. Rapid rise in the incidence of severe COVID-19 is a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and its pandemic strategy to circulate the virus widely in reopened schools, businesses and sporting events with symbolic restrictive measures.

As the September 14 deadline approaches for the gubernatorial recall election, the wave of child hospitalizations also exposes the central lie on which Newsom’s entire campaign is based: that his administration’s policies have protected Californians, especially children, from the pandemic. .

The national Democratic Party is deeply concerned that Newsom could lose the election, with the party and wealthy backers from Silicon Valley and Hollywood pouring more than $60 million into his campaign, against about $8 million raised by the far-right supporters of the Democratic Party. recall.

No serious attempt is made to present the recall as confirmation of Newsom’s record. Instead, they rely on the workers’ justified fear that a “yes” victory would usher in far-right Republican talk show host Larry Elder, who, in addition to scrapping the minimum wage and attacking reproductive rights, explicitly seeks to remove all remaining efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in favor of a murderous “herd immunity” policy.

Former President Obama recently released an ad stating that the election is a choice “between protecting our children and endangering them.” One of Newsom’s major video ads begins with the claim that “with the Delta rising, Gavin Newsom is protecting California.”

To justify this assessment, Democrats are pointing to a complete vaccination coverage of 66 percent for ages 12 and older, according to the New York Times. Daily new cases of COVID-19 in California, reported by Worldometers.info, for which the 7-day average was 10,176 on Sept. 8, was down 77 percent from the high of 45,021 on Dec. 22 last year. Texas, which has banned masks in schools and has a lower vaccination rate for ages 12 and older of just 58 percent, has 18,532 daily average new cases, approaching its all-time high of 22,968 in January 2021.

However, these case numbers obscure the reality of a poorly developed testing and reporting infrastructure. California’s reported 7-day mean case rates were 37 percent higher the day before Labor Day weekend, with the New York Times noting a drop in reported numbers across the country over the long weekend. Hospital admissions provide a more accurate picture of the true state of the pandemic and the reality workers face under a Democrat-led mitigation policy.

Data from the “COVID-19 Reported Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity by Facility” dataset compiled by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services illustrates trends in pediatric and adult COVID-19 hospitalizations. The data presented in this article demonstrates the choice faced by workers between the dual ruling class policies of herd immunity (promoted by Republicans in states such as Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas) and mitigation (advanced by Democrats in states such as California and New York), as well as the Biden administration).

Pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in California remained below 35 per day from May 1 to mid-July 2021, as schools were largely closed and the Alpha variant remained dominant in the state, as illustrated in Figure 1 below. Schools began fully reopening in August under orders from the Newsom administration, following the lead of the Biden administration, with the full support of American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten and teachers’ unions.

Figure 1: Daily Average Pediatric Hospital Admissions in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. Total state pediatric populations (ages 17 and younger) listed above each chart. Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

Students were herded into crowded classrooms, making physical distancing impossible. Distance learning options were only offered at the last minute, with many districts refusing to allow students to learn remotely or raising high barriers to entry. Testing was left to the cramped districts. The definition of “exposure” and quarantine requirements have been changed on a completely unscientific basis to allow for the continuation of personal instruction amid widespread community transmission. Wildfire smoke forced educators across much of the state to choose whether to open doors and windows for ventilation while breathing dangerously polluted air or keep them closed, exacerbating the risk of transmission. Everyone was asked to wear face masks inside.

The result is illustrated by the rapid surge in pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations beginning in August, putting pressure on pediatric emergency care capacity in parts of the state. In the week ending August 26, reported hospitalizations reached 112 children per day, with a slight drop the following week. This is probably partly due to the increased effects of the Delta variant on children. However, it also suggests a massive undercount of pediatric cases of COVID-19.

The case of New York, which has not yet opened most schools to personal learning, illustrates the obvious role of schools in the transmission of the virus. The number of child hospitalizations in that state is just above 31 per day, less than half the level in California per capita.

With the exception of mask mandates and other tepid mitigation measures, the same basic reopening policy was followed in states such as Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. The results in Florida, South Carolina and Texas were record hospitalizations among children.

Texas levels are now 227 per day, about double the per capita rate in California. Florida peaked at 104 per day in the week ending Aug. 12, a percentage per capita consistent with current levels in Texas, before changing its COVID-19 reporting protocols to reduce reported numbers.

South Carolina largely avoided a pediatric surge last winter, but has now climbed above 25 pediatric hospitalizations, a similar per capita level to Florida and Texas. Oklahoma has a population smaller than South Carolina, but has reached 50 pediatric hospitalizations per day, making its per capita twice that of Texas and about four times that of California.

Adult hospitalization levels in California, Oklahoma, Florida and New York reflect pediatric trends. South Carolina and Texas see levels of adult hospitalization similar to, but not higher than, previous peaks.

Note that all figures in this article report only confirmed and not suspected COVID-19 cases, meaning these are conservative estimates.

Figure 2: Daily Average Adult Hospitalizations in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. Total adult populations in the state (aged 18 and older) listed above each chart. Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

This presents the “choice” facing workers between the Democrats and mitigation versus the Republicans and herd immunity.

The last reported California pediatric hospitalization rate of 102 children per day equates to 3,060 children per month, or one in every 2,900 children aged 17 and under in the state. If this level were in effect for a full nine-month school year, one in 320 children would be hospitalized, meaning most children in the state are likely to know of a child who has been hospitalized this school year.

At 7,070 adult hospitalizations per day, this equates to 2.3 adult hospitalizations per 100 children in the state per month. By the end of nine months of school, most children would probably see a family member or close adult friend in the hospital with COVID-19. All this assumes that hospitalization rates remain at current levels and not continue on their current upward trajectory.

These numbers illustrate the devastating costs Democrats are asking workers to bear as they “learn to live with the virus.” The fact that these numbers could double under a Republican-led herd-immunity policy doesn’t change the fact that the Newsom administration and the rest of the Democrats, not to mention the teacher unions, have failed at all. to keep workers, especially children, safe. of this deadly pandemic.

The choice between herd immunity and mitigation is just as false as the choice between the Republican and Democratic parties. COVID-19 eradication can be achieved, but only with a socialist strategy. As illustrated by Dr. Malgorzata Gasperowicz of the University of Calgary at a panel discussion hosted by the World Socialist Web Site, a science-assisted lockdown of about two months could reduce transmission to levels that can be isolated and contained through mass testing, contact tracing, as well as masking. and vaccination.

The Democrats and Republicans even refuse to recognize the possibility of extermination, even though countries like New Zealand, China and others have generally been successful in pursuing an elimination strategy, even with the Delta variant, a policy that would lead to extermination. could lead if it is adopted worldwide. The reason for this is simple: in their ‘cost-benefit analysis’ they value the profits of ultra-rich capitalists like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos far more than the lives of the highly exploited workers who risk their lives under sweatshop conditions in their factories and warehouses.

There is only one candidate on the ballot in California fighting for the elimination of COVID-19, and it is no coincidence that he is a socialist. We urge all California voters who agree with the arguments presented here to vote for Socialist Equality Party candidate and educator David Moore and against the right-wing recall. More importantly, we encourage you to contact the Socialist Equality Party today and get involved in the struggle for socialism.

Sign up for the WSWS email newsletter

Comments are closed.