Eighth Child Under 10 Dies of COVID in Virginia As Omicron Cases Surge in Kids

The COVID-19 death toll for children under the age of 10 in Virginia rose to eight on Wednesday, according to the state's Department of Health.

Logan Anderson, the department's public information officer, confirmed the child's death in a statement to CBS affiliate WUSA9.

The child lived in the state's northwest region, which includes Fredericksburg, Caroline, King George, Stafford and Spotsylvania counties, Anderson added.

According to the latest data from the state health department, one child aged 0 to 17 died after contracting COVID-19 in the two weeks to January 22. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, 1,176 children in Virginia have been hospitalized with COVID-19 and 13 children have died.

It is not clear whether the death announced on Wednesday is included in the latest set of statistics from the Virginia Department of Health. Newsweek has contacted the department for comment.

The NBC affiliate WSLS-TV reported that of the eight under-10s who have died in the state, two lived in the Rappahannock health district, two in the Richmond City district, and one in each of the Chesterfield, Rappahannock-Rapidan, Virginia Beach and Lord Fairfax districts.

The Virginia cases come as COVID-19 infections in children have surged across the United States, largely fueled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, nearly 1,151,000 COVID-19 cases were reported in the week to January 20—nearly five times the highest weekly total for child cases during last winter's COVID-19 spike in the U.S.

More than 10.6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States since the onset of the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported, with more than 2 million of these coming in the past two weeks.

The academy also pointed out that child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000 for the 24th consecutive week. Since the first week of September 2021, there have been nearly 5.6 million additional child cases.

In Los Angeles County, a 15-month-old child died of COVID-19 this week, the Los Angeles Times reported. It wasn't clear whether the toddler had underlying conditions.

Last week, in southwest California's Riverside County, an infant younger than 1 became the youngest person in the county to succumb to COVID-19, according to health officials.

In Chicago, a 7-year-old girl came close to death when she developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) after contracting COVID-19. The rare condition causes parts of the body and gastrointestinal organs to become inflamed.

Some children have developed the condition after testing positive for COVID-19, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is unclear why.

The Omicron variant, while highly contagious, is believed to be less severe than strains such as Delta. It now accounts for more than 99% of U.S. cases, according to the CDC.

Health care worker seals a coronavirus swab
A health care worker seals a coronavirus swab after testing on April 30, 2020 at the Pro Health Urgent Care site in Wantagh, New York. Thirteen children in Virginia have died of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the state health department. Al Bello/Getty Images