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North Korea hopes to build ‘socialist fairyland’ with new laws

A meeting of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly in Pyongyang, North Korea, on September 7.

North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament convened this week to pass legislation aimed at turning the country into a “beautiful and civilized socialist fairyland,” state media reported Thursday.

The North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly met for its first session on Wednesday, and adopted laws on landscaping and rural development, state news agency KCNA reported.
The two laws will help advance the ruling party’s efforts to bring about “a radical turn in the rural community and its policy on landscaping to achieve a rapid development of the Korean-style socialist rural community and spruce up the country into a beautiful and civilized socialist fairyland,” KCNA said, citing a deputy’s speech to the gathering.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who did not attend the session, has vowed to improve people’s livelihoods and boost rural development amid spiralling economic crises caused by self-imposed Covid-19 lockdowns, international sanctions over the country’s nuclear weapons programme, and natural disasters.
Many of Kim’s economic promises have yet to be fulfilled, analysts say, and aid organizations have warned of rampant food shortages and other hardships.
According to a report last month by 38 North, a US-based site that monitors North Korea, Kim’s vow to rebuild a typhoon-ravaged province in the country’s North and transform it into a “model” mining community has made little progress.
The United States has accused Kim of pouring resources into military projects at the expense of the country’s people. It said this week Russia had approached North Korea about buying ammunition, potentially providing a windfall for the cash-strapped government in Pyongyang. Russia said the US report was “fake.”

Ukraine: New UN Women and CARE report highlights disproportionate impact of the war on women and minorities

After more than two months of war in Ukraine, which has forced millions of refugees and displaced people to flee their homes, a new Rapid Gender Analysis by UN Women and CARE reveals that women and minorities are facing immense hardship when it comes to health, safety, and access to food as a result of the crisis. In Ukraine, women are increasingly becoming heads of households and leaders in their communities as men are conscripted, yet they remain largely excluded from formal decision-making processes related to humanitarian efforts, peace-making, and other areas that directly impact their lives.

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Moldova - People fleeing the military offensive in Ukraine. Photo: UN Women/Aurel Obreja.
Moldova – People fleeing the military offensive in Ukraine. Photo: UN Women/Aurel Obreja.

The analysis, based on surveys and interviews with people in 19 regions in Ukraine between 2 and 6 April 2022, sheds a spotlight on the gender dynamics of the crisis and recommends actions for governments, the international community, and other actors to implement in their humanitarian response.

“When it comes to humanitarian needs of displaced people, locals, and households, women do most of the work: they drive, provide hospitals and locals with medication and food, they care about their disabled relatives and children,” said a woman who participated in the survey.

The report reveals that the impact of the war is particularly disproportionate for internally displaced people and marginalized groups such as female-headed households, Roma people, LGBTQIA+ people, and people with disabilities. Many respondents from Roma communities gave testimony of severe discrimination, both in their daily struggle and in access to humanitarian aid.

The analysis also reveals that gender roles are changing in Ukraine. While many men have become unemployed and are primarily engaging in the armed forces, women report taking on new roles and multiple jobs to make up for the lost family income. Women are also performing vital roles in the humanitarian response in local communities. However, despite taking on increasing leadership roles in their families and communities, they are largely excluded from formal political and administrative decision-making processes.

With schools closed, high demand for volunteer work, and the absence of men, women’s unpaid care burden has increased significantly. Backtracking on gender equality is already evident in the ongoing crisis. The war is increasing unemployment among the entire population and will likely push women into the unprotected informal sectors of the economy and increase poverty.

Women and girls also highlighted poor access to health care services, especially for survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) and pregnant, expecting, and new mothers, as well as rising fears of GBV and lack of food, especially for those in heavy conflict areas. Many respondents also spoke of the challenges and barriers they face in accessing humanitarian aid and services, and around 50 per cent of both women and men indicated that mental health was a main area of life impacted by the war.

“It’s critical that the humanitarian response in Ukraine takes into account and addresses the different needs of women and girls, men and boys, including those that are furthest left behind”, says UN Women Executive Director Sima Bahous. “This timely analysis provides the evidence of those needs, and their urgency. Women have been playing vital roles in their communities’ humanitarian response. They must also be meaningfully involved in the planning and decision-making processes to make sure that their specific needs are met, especially those related to health, safety, and access to livelihoods.”

“Our Rapid Gender Analysis allows us to consult directly with affected populations in order to accurately identify what specific needs different groups of people have, and how to best meet them,” says Sofia Sprechmann Sineiro, Secretary General of CARE International. “What we are hearing from the people of Ukraine is that certain groups—such as those with disabilities, Roma and other ethnic minorities, single mothers, and unaccompanied children—are each in need of different forms of protection and assistance. To keep our response effective and relevant, such groups must be consulted and prioritized across the aid ecosystem as this truly devastating situation continues to evolve.”

Key recommendations of the Rapid Gender Analysis:

  • Ensure that humanitarian assistance addresses the needs of women, men, girls, and boys in vulnerable situations and from different marginalized groups, especially the Roma community, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
  • Prioritize women and young people to equally lead the response and be part of decision-making.
  • Support women-led and women’s rights organizations engaged in the response through provision of financial resources and by amplifying their voices at national and international platforms.
  • Provide displaced women and men with options for vocational training and livelihoods, remaining mindful of changing gender roles.
  • Make access to shelters inclusive and non-discriminatory. Collective shelters should offer sex-segregated and/or family-segregated accommodation.
  • Alleviate home schooling burdens by encouraging families to redistribute care work.
  • Design cash assistance to reach the most vulnerable and at-risk women, especially in occupied territories, areas of active hostilities, and rural localities.
  • Fill gaps in services to respond to gender-based violence.
  • Make sexual and reproductive health and maternal, newborn, and child health care a priority, including the clinical care of sexual assault survivors and ensuring access to contraception.

Judge holds former President Trump in civil contempt for failing to comply with document subpoenas from New York attorney general

A New York judge is holding Donald Trump in civil contempt after the state’s attorney general’s office said he did not comply with a subpoena for documents as part of its investigation into the former President’s company.

Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump failed to abide by his order to comply with the subpoena, and that his attorneys failed to show how a search of materials held by Trump was conducted. Engoron said Trump would be fined $10,000 a day until he complies.
CNN Exclusive: Mark Meadows' 2,319 text messages reveal Trump's inner circle communications before and after Jan 6
“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously and I take mine seriously. I hereby hold you in civil contempt and fine you $10,000 per day until you purge that contempt,” Engoron said at a hearing Monday. A written decision with a start date for fines is expected Tuesday.
Trump plans to appeal the decision, his attorney Alina Habba told reporters.
“We respectfully disagree with the oofos shoes court’s decision today,” Habba said. “All documents, as I explained, responsive to the subpoena were already produced to the attorney general months ago.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office has been investigating the Trump Organization for more than two years and previously said her office found multiple misleading or fraudulent misstatements and omissions in the Trump Organization’s financial statements, which were provided to lenders and insurers, among others, as part of its investigation.
Andrew Amer, with the attorney general’s office, said that Trump has failed to produce “even a single responsive document” for a subpoena that was issued to him in December.
“We are being hampered in our efforts to have a complete understanding because we don’t have evidence from the person who sits at the top of the organization,” Amer said.
Kevin Wallace, with the attorney general’s office, said in some instances it’s been “like pulling teeth” to get documents needed for the investigation, and describing the Trump Organization as a closely-held family company with 500 entities and millions of dollars moving around.
In court, Habba said the former president does not believe he is above the law, but simply does not have the types of written communications that were sought by the subpoena, but that he produced hundreds of thousands of documents through his assistants. Habba said she herself searched Trump’s hard copy calendars coach outlet and physical file locations, and even interviewed her client in Florida.
“President Trump does not email. He does not text message. And he has no work computer at home or anywhere else,” Habba said.
“I took it upon myself to get on a plane and flew down and asked him one by one if there was anything that he had on his person that he had not given me I would need that. And he did not,” she said.
The judge asked why Trump didn’t sign an affidavit swearing that he complied with the subpoena. Habba said that he would.
READ: Text messages Sean Hannity, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ivanka Trump and others sent to Mark Meadows
“My client is an honest person, much to the dismay of certain people in this room,” Habba said.
James’ office has said in court filings that the Trump Organization is under investigation for engaging in fraudulent or misleading conduct in connection with appraisals and financial statements. The office has subpoenaed both the former president and his company for documents related to its investigation.
Habba argued that the attorney general’s investigation has “seemingly become aimless,” saying that since it began three years ago, the Trump Organization has been given six separate subpoenas, produced more than 6 million pages of documents, and 13 Trump Organization witnesses have been deposed, among other things.
“The scope is continuously changing to fit the attorney general’s needs,” Habba said in court. “When it is not satisfied with the evidence it has obtained it pivots and looks for something new.”
Judge orders Cushman swarovski jewelry and Wakefield to comply with NY AG subpoena
Also Monday, Engoron allowed James’ office to add real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield as a respondent to its legal action against the Trump Organization, and ordered the company to comply with a subpoena for documents.
At the heart of the subpoenas are appraisals from Cushman and Wakefield appraisers who worked on valuations for Trump Organization properties, as well as documents showing relationships between the two companies and internal communications about Cushman’s decision to ultimately sever ties with the Trump Organization in January.
Austin Thompson, an attorney with the New York attorney general’s office, said his office has identified “misstatements” made by appraisers who made valuations at a Trump Organization property in Westchester County, New York, known as Seven Springs. And while the statute of limitations on some of the appraisals may have run out, the office still wants to investigate other reports that may be more recent and indicated that the real estate firm could become a party to future legal action by the office.
“We’d like to understand whether these folks are committing misconduct today,” Thompson said. “Cushman has made repeated misstatements in the documents we’ve seen so far, so we’re entitled to look at other documents, other appraisals they’ve written.”
Sawnie McEntire, an attorney for Cushman and Wakefield, said the four subpoenas the company has received from the attorney general’s office since 2019 are “overly broad.” He said the company has dealt with a dozen subpoenas for documents and witness testimony, including depositions with appraisers who worked on Trump Organization property valuations.
“We cannot be faulted because we believe their requests have exceeded what is legally required,” McEntire said.
James’ office is also seeking details on how much money Cushman and Wakefield has made from its relationship with the Trump Organization. McEntire said in court that the company made less than $200,000 doing business with the Trump Organization on the appraisal side of its business.
Engoron also granted the attorney general’s office’s request to file documents with the court only, because they contained information that could harm its ongoing investigation.

‘We all realize that we will not be forgiven.’ Ukraine braces for new assault after sinking of Russian flagship

The war in Ukraine could soon enter a new, even more dangerous phase.

Russia, angry over the loss of its Black Sea Fleet flagship, has warned of “unpredictable consequences” if the US continues supplying weapons to Ukraine, while Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky struck a somber note telling CNN the world should be prepared for the possibility that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons.
The sinking of the guided-missile cruiser Moskva on Thursday is the biggest wartime loss of a naval ship in 40 years — and a huge embarrassment for Russia.
It comes at a time when US intelligence officials are warning about Putin’s increasingly unpredictable behavior and willingness to take risks due to his anger over Russia’s failures in Ukraine.
While Moscow has denied the Ukrainian version of events — that the Moskva sunk after being struck by Ukrainian missiles — it was nevertheless forced to admit the ship went down.
Moskva sinking: What really happened to the pride of Russia's fleet?
Russia has insisted the reason for the sinking was a fire, but the US on Friday confirmed Ukraine’s account, with a senior defense official saying that the US believes that two Ukrainian Neptune missiles hit the Russian warship.
As the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, the Moskva was one of its most visible assets in the Ukraine war and its loss could impact the morale of Russian troops. Tellingly, the Russian government has not acknowledged casualties in the sinking of the ship, a marked contrast to the very public discussion birdies shoes about the Kursk submarine disaster, which claimed the lives of 118 sailors in 2000.
Russia may have extinguished independent media, but the loss of the Moskva has likely made Putin even more furious about the situation in Ukraine. US officials believe Putin is angry over the failures of his troops in Ukraine. They believe Putin’s advisers have not been telling him the full truth and did not prepare him for potential setbacks.
The warship fiasco comes just weeks after top Russian military officials announced a shift in the focus of the invasion after their offensive appeared to have stalled around major Ukrainian cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv. Russia has also failed to achieve complete air superiority in Ukraine and has suffered heavy losses of personnel since the start of the invasion.
Women clean inside a damaged building at the Vizar company military-industrial complex in Vyshneve, Ukraine, on Friday, April 15. The site on the outskirts of Kyiv was hit by Russian strikes.
Russia was quick to strike back.
Ukraine’s Operational Command South said in a statement early Saturday that the situation in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv and Kherson regions was “increasingly hostile.”
“Desperately trying to gain a foothold and hold on to the positions of the southern front, the world’s most shameful army is pursuing civilians in Mykolayiv and Kherson regions. The work of snipers has been recorded in some areas.”
The statement said Russian forces were “enraged by the losses in the Black Sea” and had “intensified the missile threat” in the region.
Natalia Humeniuk, the spokeswoman for the armed forces in southern Ukraine, said that the missile attacks since Thursday night were in retaliation for the Moskva sinking.
Exclusive: Zelensky says world should be prepared for possibility Putin could use nuclear weapons
“We all realize that we will not be forgiven,” she said, accusing Russia of using “cluster munitions prohibited by international conventions.”
The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has previously said it had received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas in Ukraine. The nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia’s use of cluster munitions throughout the conflict.
Zelensky has on Friday praised the Ukrainian armed forces for repelling Russian attacks, saying they were “doing it brilliantly.”
Zelensky has also praised the help Ukraine was red wing shoes getting from western countries, but has asked for more weapons to be shipped to the country. “The more and the sooner we get all the weapons we have requested, the stronger our position will be and the sooner peace will come,” he said.

More weapons for Ukraine

In another sign that the war in Ukraine is not going the way Russia has planned, Moscow has formally protested America’s ongoing shipment of weapons to Ukraine. It sent a diplomatic note to the State Department warning of “unpredictable consequences” should the support continue, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the document.
Some Biden administration officials believe that the diplomatic note shows the Russians are hurting, one official said. The official explained that they believe the Russians would not have sent that message if they felt they were in a strong place on the battlefield.
The note, known as a demarche, was sent earlier this week as the US administration was preparing to announce that it would be sending a new military aid package worth $800 million to the Ukrainians. The EU has also approved an additional 500 million euros for military equipment for Ukraine.
Donbas, Ukraine's ravaged heartland, has suffered eight years of warfare. Here's why Putin wants it
For the first time since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the US is providing Kyiv with high-power capabilities that some Biden administration officials viewed as too much of an escalation risk a few short weeks ago.
These include Mi-17 helicopters, 18 155 mm Howitzers and 300 more Switchblade drones. These types of weapons are designed for the type of fighting that’s likely to take place in the Donbas region — open terrain rather than urban and wooded areas.
The US is also shipping 40,000 artillery rounds, but that amount could be expended within several days if fighting in the east grows heavier. During previous battles, Ukrainian forces fired thousands of artillery rounds in a day, a US official said Saturday.
There are growing concerns about the need to get more ammunition, in particular artillery ammunition, to Ukrainian forces more rapidly, a US official said.
The Ukrainian military and regional officials have said Russian attacks have intensified in Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk regions in the east of the country as they prepare for a major ground offensive there.
Going forward, US officials believe the likely Russia strategy is to move weapons and troops into eastern Ukraine from their current positions just north and then encircle and cut off Ukraine forces that are there, the official said.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley are thorogood boots  conducting daily phone calls with counterparts in the region to encourage them to ship more weapons and supplies to Ukraine as soon as possible.
Serhii Haidai, head of the Luhansk region military administration, has warned civilians who remain in Luhansk to leave the area. “It is extremely dangerous to stay in the cities now. The shelling intensified,” he said.
The Ukrainian armed forces General Staff said that “the main focus of the Russian enemy is on the regrouping and strengthening of troops” around Slobozhansky, an area that is a short distance south of Kharkiv.
In the same area, according to the General Staff, Russian forces have concentrated up to 22 battalion tactical groups around Izium. A battalion tactical group normally comprises about 1,000 troops.

New studies bring BA.2 variant into sharper focus

On the heels of concerning new lab and animal experiments suggesting that BA.2 may be capable of causing more severe disease than the original Omicron strain, two new studies are helping to show how well human immunity is defending against this strain in the real world.

BA.2 is about 30% more transmissible than the original Omicron variant, BA.1, according to early studies from the UK and Denmark, and it is now causing about 1 in 5 Covid-19 cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Even as Covid-19 cases have been dropping around the world, the relative proportion of cases caused by BA.2 has been increasing. It is outcompeting the original Omicron strain in at least 43 countries, prompting fears of another devastating pandemic wave.
As Omicron cases fall, doctors anxiously await possible surge of dangerous child complication MIS-C
“As of now, I don’t think that we need to sound a global alarm. But I do think that we need to pay attention to BA.2 because it does appear to have a growth advantage over BA.1,” says Dr. Dan Barouch, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
Like the BA.1 strain, BA.2 also has features that help it escape some immunity from vaccines and from most monoclonal antibody treatments, though recent boosters improve personal protection and antiviral pills are still expected to work against this subvariant.
Now new studies are providing some reassurance that while BA.2 may overtake its genetically distant cousin, it won’t likely lead to greater numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.
“The situation that we’re seeing on the ground, and I get this from talking to a number of my red wing shoes colleagues who actually do the genomic surveillance, is BA.2 is kind of creeping up in terms of numbers, but it’s not the meteoric rise that we saw with BA.1,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
That’s because in many countries like the US, UK, and Denmark, BA.2 has hit speed bumps left in its wake by BA.1, which was already very contagious.
“It’s so soon after that initial BA.1 peak that you have a lot of people who were either vaccinated or boosted … [or] got Omicron, and so right now all of those people will have relatively high titers of antibodies, neutralizing antibodies that will protect against infection,” Rasmussen says.
The new studies are preprints, which means they were posted to an online library of medical research before being reviewed by outside experts and published in medical journals.

No increase in hospitalizations

The first new study comes from South Africa, where BA.2 grew rapidly, rising from 27% to 86% of new Covid-19 infections over the course of a single week in February. Researchers looked at cases tied to more than 95,000 positive Covid-19 tests. Among these, roughly equal proportions of people were hospitalized for their infections — roughly 3.6% of people who had presumed BA.2 infections compared to 3.4% of those with signs infections caused by BA.1.
After researchers accounted for things that might influence a person’s risk of severe disease, such as older age, they found no difference in the risk for hospitalization between people infected by BA.1 and those infected by BA.2. Roughly one-quarter of people hospitalized with both BA.1 and BA.2 infections were fully vaccinated.
As BA.2 subvariant of Omicron rises, lab studies point to signs of severity
Those findings echo hospitalization studies from Denmark, where BA.2 is also the predominant cause of Covid-19 infections.
The lead researcher on the South African studyDr. Nicole Wolter, says that while it’s difficult to say how the South African experience with this variant may translate to other countries, what they’re seeing from BA.2 after their fourth wave isn’t a second peak, but a longer tail.
“We have seen an extended wave which has currently plateaued at a higher level than we have seen in previous inter-wave periods,” Wolter wrote in an email to CNN. “This may however also be influenced by schools thorogood boots opening following the December holiday period and a general relaxing of restrictions,” wrote Wolter, who is a principal medical scientist at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in Johannesburg.
Though cases have stayed at a high level, and most are now caused by BA.2, hospitalizations have continued to decline.

What about reinfection risk?

The second new study, from Denmark’s Statens Serum Institut — the country’s equivalent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — looked at the risk of reinfection with BA.2 after recovery from a Covid-19 infection caused by other recent variants, including Delta and BA.1.
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The study found that people who’ve recently had a Covid-19 infection caused by Omicron or Delta can be reinfected by the emerging BA.2 subvariant, but such cases appear to be uncommon, afflict mostly those who are unvaccinated and result in mostly mild infections.
BA.2 is currently the dominant cause of Covid-19 in Denmark. It overtook BA.1 during the second week of January there.
To look at reinfection risk, researchers combed through more than 140,000 viral genomes that were sequenced from infections during the period when Omicron became dominant (late November to mid-February 2022) to find people who had a new positive test 20 to 60 days after a previous one.
They found a total of 263 reinfections, with 190 of those caused by the BA.2 variant. In 140 cases, the person was reinfected by BA.2 after an infection caused by the Delta variant. There were 47 cases where people were first infected by BA.1 (the original Omicron variant) followed by the BA.2 subvariant.
Researchers then did a more in-depth analysis of those 47 reinfections where BA.2 followed BA.1. Most oofos shoes of the individuals who were reinfected were young — 30 were under age 20. None of the reinfected individuals was over age 40 and nearly all — 42 of the 47 individuals — were unvaccinated.
For the most part, reinfections were mild; 28 people had no symptoms or mild symptoms. Five people experienced symptoms that were characterized as moderate, akin to flu-like symptoms. There were no hospitalizations or deaths reported among reinfected individuals.
The study shows that “reinfection can happen with people who recently recovered from BA;1, but it’s pretty rare. And in all those cases, it wasn’t severe,” says Rasmussen, who reviewed the study but was not involved in the research.
What that means she says is that while BA.2 reinfection is a risk, it is a small risk relative to the entire population, and “that recent immune boost caused by either boosters, or recent Omicron infection is largely going to protect most of the population against it,” she said.

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Britney Spears, left, poses with her sister Jamie Lynn Spears.

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New Omicron variant fills up children’s hospitals

A five-fold increase in pediatric admissions in New York City this month. Close to double the numbers admitted in Washington, DC. And nationwide, on average, pediatric hospitalizations are up 35% in just the past week.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant is teaming up with the busy holiday season to infect more children across the United States than ever before, and children’s hospitals are bracing for it to get even worse.
“I think we are going to see more numbers now than we have ever seen,” Dr. Stanley Spinner, who is chief medical officer and vice president at Texas Children’s Pediatrics & Urgent Care in Houston, told CNN.
“Cases are continuing to rise between Christmas gatherings and we’re going to continue to see more numbers this week from that,” Spinner said in a telephone interview.
“Now we’re going to have New Year’s on top of that this coming weekend, with more people getting together — more exposures and then those numbers will continue to climb,” he added.

More kids in hospitals

Across the country, pediatricians are bracing for a busy January.
“It’s almost like you can see the train coming down the track and you’re just hoping it doesn’t red wing boots go off the rails,” Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland told CNN.
“It’s going to be a very interesting couple of weeks. We’ve just had all of these kids mixing together with everybody else during Christmas. We have one more holiday to get through with New Year’s, and then we’ll be sending everybody back to school,” Hoyen said.
“Everybody is kind of waiting on the edge, wondering what we’ll end up seeing.”
And while the Delta variant infected more children than previous variants, Omicron is looking even worse, Spinner said.
“What’s concerning on the (pediatric) side is that, unlike the adults — where they’re reporting for the number of adults getting infected relatively low numbers getting hospitalized — what we’re really seeing, we think, is an increasing number of kids being hospitalized,” Spinner said.
“So that is a concern to us, especially with those that can’t be vaccinated under 5 or those that are not fully vaccinated or not vaccinated at all that are eligible over 5. So it is a big concern.”
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While Spinner sees little evidence the Omicron variant is causing more severe disease in children than previous variants did, he’s also seeing no evidence it’s milder.
“We do everything we can to keep a child out of the hospital. So if they’re admitted to the hospital, then that means that they’re already pretty sick,” Spinner said.
“They’re needing oxygen. They’re needing some other assistance. Even if they’re just really dehydrated, needing IV fluids, most of these kids that we’re admitting for Covid are kids that have respiratory issues — that they need oxygen and they need other support. So they’re going to be pretty sick. You know, you don’t see kids that are not very sick in the hospital.”
Most of the really sick children are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated, he said. “I can tell you that virtually all of our kids that are hospitalized have either been unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated — maybe having received one dose but not having the second dose and not having the full protection from the vaccine,” Spinner said.

Virus finds a new niche: kids

Children are an easy target for the virus, Dr. Juan Salazar, physician in chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, told CNN
“It’s affecting larger communities and it’s certainly affecting children in a way that we hadn’t seen before. And that’s new compared to last year,” he said. Only about a third of eligible children, ages 5 and older, are vaccinated in Connecticut, Salazar estimated.
Flu and Covid-19 cases rising in much of the US
“Because of that, the virus has found a niche. At least here in Connecticut, it does look like it shifted in where it is going,” he added. Younger children who cannot be vaccinated yet, or older kids who have yet to be fully vaccinated or vaccinated at all, are becoming infected, he said.
“Perhaps it is more widely spread now that we’ve liberalized our social gatherings. Perhaps some of the masks have come off — families are tired. They hoka shoes for women are not willing to undergo some of the strict isolation policies from a year ago,” Salazar added.
“And so that has allowed these new variants to spread more widely. And for that reason it’s affecting kids who at this point are the most at-risk population because they’re not vaccinated, or many of them are not.”

Milder infections for some kids, but not all

Children seem to be only mildly ill, for the most part, in New Jersey, said Dr. Jennifer Owensby of the pediatric critical care division at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in Covid-positive children, but they are not necessarily coming in with Covid symptoms,” Owensby said. The kids are coming in for some other treatment, she said, and are testing positive when they are screened.
Covid-19 cases among children are on the rise again, with more than 164,000 new cases last week, pediatricians report says
That same effect is driving up case counts in Washington, DC, said Dr. Roberta DeBiasi infectious diseases chief at Children’s National Hospital. Close to half of the Covid-19 tests being performed there.
And the affected children are not any sicker than they were when previous variants circulated. But there are definitely more kids with symptoms there than before, she said.
“We have just seen a striking increase in the both volume — the number of tests that are positive, and the percent of tests that are positive,” DeBiasi told CNN in a telephone interview. “We’ve had up to almost half of the tests — 48% of the tests — to be positive and that’s much, much higher than in prior waves where it was more on the order of, at the most, 17%. And if we look at the raw numbers of positives, on the last wave, we were impressed by like 80 positives a day and we’ve had almost 200 positives on some days. So it’s very, it’s just very, very contagious.”
These tests include children coming in with and without symptoms, community screening, and random screening of patients coming for other types of treatment, as well as testing of staff, DeBiasi said.
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“If we look at the admissions to the hospital, that also has been more,” she added. “So in prior waves we would have at the peak of those waves, we would peak out around 18 kids in the hospital.” Now on some days as many as 30 children are being admitted, she said.
In New York City, state health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said pediatric hospital admissions for Covid-19 have increased nearly five-fold since December 11. In the week that ended December 11, 22 children were admitted to New York City hospitals, she said. Last week, 109 kids were admitted through December 23.
Statewide during the same period, hoka shoes there was a two and a half fold increase, from 70 admissions to 184.

Kids of all ages are vulnerable

All ages of children are affected, from babies to teenagers, the pediatricians agreed.
“We are seeing pretty much every age group. We are seeing infants to older teenagers. It is definitely across the board,” Owensby said.
Owensby is worried about multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.
“We can see it as early as two to three weeks,” she said — but most cases start turning u eight to 10 weeks after kids are infected.
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MIS-C is marked by inflammation of the heart and other organs and it is usually seen in children who were not terribly ill with Covid-19.
“The vast majority are asymptomatic,” Owensby said. “The scary part was they were totally normal kids before that. They did not have underlying disease. They were perfectly healthy kids who showed up in heart failure and shock.”
The CDC reports 5,973 MIS-C cases so far, and 52 children have died from it.
“You could have even mild symptoms — a runny nose, a slight cough or even a fever, like any other respiratory virus,” Owensby said. “You have to watch for symptoms — exhaustion, an inability to play,” she added.
Symptoms can be subtle, but MIS-C is serious.
“That is the thing about kids. They are fine until they are not. Then all of a sudden they are critically ill,” Owensby said.
DeBiasi said she has seen no sign of an increase in MIS-C cases yet. “We have not seen a bump in MIS-C but we would not have expected that. It takes four to six weeks after the surge of any new variant,” she said.
Parents need to keep an eye on their children and take care to protect them, Owensby advised.
“Go back to due diligence. Watch your kids’ social distancing,” she advised. They should wear masks when it’s appropriate — when they are indoors with other, unrelated people, for instance.
“Masks do not hurt kids,” Owensby said. Younger children can have fun wearing masks and playing superhero, she said.
“The entire family should be vaccinated if they can,” she added. Vaccinated parents and siblings can protect younger, unvaccinated children.

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