CDC reports fewer COVID-19 pediatric deaths after data correction

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Healthcare workers are seen at the Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., January 15, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah Beier

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March 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 966,575 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday after it corrected the data earlier this week, which reduced the death tallies in all age-groups, including children.

The health agency, in a statement to Reuters, said it made adjustments to its COVID Data Tracker's mortality data on March 14 because its algorithm was accidentally counting deaths that were not COVID-19-related.

The adjustment resulted in removal of 72,277 deaths previously reported across 26 states, including 416 pediatric deaths, CDC said.

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The reduction cut the CDC's estimate of deaths in children by 24% to 1,341 as of March 18.

Children accounted for about 19% of all COVID-19 cases, but less than 0.26% of cases resulted in death, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which summarizes state-based data.

Americans have been polarized over the mitigation measures the CDC recommended for schools during the pandemic from urging schools to be remote, require masks and set up social distancing measures. It now advises that for most of the country, children should be in school and can be without masks.

The number of U.S. children with COVID-19 rose sharply during the Omicron variant wave due to its increased transmissibility and low vaccination rates among children 5-11 who are eligible for the vaccine. Children ages 0-4 are not eligible for the vaccine in the United States.

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Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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