COVID-19 Round-Up: Omicron Driving an Increase in Child Cases; and More

Real-World, Rapid COVID-19 Testing Shows Few False Positives

In a Canadian employer screening program, the overall rate of false-positive results using rapid antigen test screens for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is very low, according to a research letter published online Jan. 7 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The results demonstrate the importance of having a comprehensive data system to quickly identify potential issues,” the authors write. “With the ability to identify batch issues within 24 hours, workers could return to work, problematic test batches could be discarded, and the public health authorities and manufacturer could be informed.”

Nearly 600,000 U.S. Children Had COVID-19 Last Week

In a sign that the highly contagious omicron variant is sparing no one, a report shows that new COVID-19 cases among U.S. children spiked to a high of more than 580,000 for the week ending Jan. 6, a 78 percent increase from the week before.

“Since many children remain unvaccinated — or are too young to be vaccinated — children are bearing a disproportionate burden of this illness,” said Moira Szilagyi, M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “These are challenging times.”

COVID-19 Incidence Up With Exposure to Airborne Pollutants

The incidence of COVID-19 is increased in association with long-term exposure to airborne pollutants, according to a study published online Jan. 10 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

“The COVID-19 cumulative incidence risk connected to long-term exposure to airborne pollutants suggests that outdoor pollution can sustain the disease rate after its temporal peak and irrespective of national or regional quarantine/lockdown periods,” the authors write.