(WXYZ) — Across the country, the number of kids hospitalized for COVID-19 has quadrupled in the last month.
In Michigan, 96 kids are currently hospitalized with COVID-19. That's more kids hospitalized than that at any point since the start of the pandemic.
Local doctors are saying that these are the consequences of the Omicron variant.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the Omicron variant is 3 times more infectious than Delta. And while most children won't get seriously sick if they get infected, for kids with compromised immune systems, the virus could be deadly.
"I think we as a society have let our guard down a bit," Dr. Rudolph Valentini with the Detroit Medical Center said.
According to Dr. Valentini, COVID fatigued Americans are letting up on a battle that isn't over.
Nearly half a million new infections are being reported in the United States every day, but the number of kids getting sick has doctors sounding alarms.
"Hospitalizations are 2 to 3 folds higher than they've ever been," Dr. Rudolph Valentini said.
325 thousand kids tested positive for COVID last week.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, that's a 64% jump in infections compared to the previous week.
Here in Michigan 96 children with COVID were sick enough to be admitted to the hospital.
But to put the data into perspective, only 2 percent of pediatric COVID cases require that level of medical intervention.
"Again most children are not going to need to come into the hospital, but there are kids who have chronic lung disease, people with asthma, people with cystic fibrosis, lots of different medical conditions that make them a little more fragile. When you add a COVID infection on top of their medical problems they wind up coming into the hospital," Dr. Valentini said.
Data from the CDC shows about 1,045 children under 18 have died from COVID-19. It is an unlikely scenario but Valentini says parents should always err on the side of caution.
"Vaccinate all those around the children who are eligible to be vaccinated," he said. "Nowadays if you are 5 and up you can be vaccinated, so those who are under 5 they are vulnerable. You have to protect them."
Valentini says these safety measures will also help keep kids in the classroom.
But if they aren't feeling well, "you gotta keep them home. And if there is anyone around them that is sick really try to keep your distance so you can keep these kids safe."