What We're Reading: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Increasing; Americans Losing Medicaid Coverage; Hepatitis Outbreak in Children

COVID-19–related hospitalizations are up 17% week over week; an estimated 5 to 14 million Americans could lose their Medicaid coverage this year or next year; the CDC is investigating unexplained cases of severe hepatitis in children.

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rise Nationwide

After weeks of rising infection rates, ABC News is reporting that hospitalizations for COVID-19 are up 17% compared with last week, with approximately 2400 infected Americans being admitted each day. Although hospitalizations remain significantly lower than those seen in prior COVID-19 surges, cases of infection have risen 52% in the last 2 weeks and continue to rise; 45 states and territories have seen increases of 10% or more in their daily infection rates. However, average daily COVID-19–related deaths remains low at 340 per day, which is substantially below the 2600 deaths per day reported during the Omicron peak in February.

Millions of Americans at Risk of Losing Medicaid Coverage

USA Today is reporting that an estimated 5 to 14 million Americans who gained Medicaid health insurance during the pandemic could lose that coverage this year or next year when federal subsidies end. Over the past 3 fiscal years, the federal government has given states more than $100 billion in Medicaid funds and fiscal relief on the condition they would not remove beneficiaries until the public health emergency ends—and that is set for July 15. When the public health emergency ends, state Medicaid agencies will have 12 months to check the eligibility of each person to determine those who no longer qualify.

CDC Investigating Mysterious Hepatitis Outbreak in Children

The CDC announced during a media briefing on May 6 that it is investigating the 109 cases of severe hepatitis reported in children, 5 of whom have died. As reported by USA Today, the cause of the outbreak, which has spread to 25 states and territories, as well as several other countries, remains unknown. Research from British health officials has suggested that adenovirus may be a potential cause of the unexplained cases of pediatric hepatitis. Approximately 90% of infected children have required hospitalization, with 14% needing liver transplants as a result of severe liver failure.