Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90
A child receives his COVID-19 vaccine at a Clallit center in Jerusalem, December 16, 2021.

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 is rising, according to an alert sent out last Friday by the New York State Health Department.

“NYSDOH is closely monitoring an upward trend in pediatric hospitalizations associated with COVID-19,” the alert read.

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“The recent increases are concentrated in New York City and the surrounding greater metropolitan area,” the notice continued. “The sharpest rise is in New York City, with admissions rising 4-fold from the week,” based on data from December 5 to the week starting December 19.

Approximately half of the admissions are children younger than age five, and thus vaccine ineligible.

In the week starting December 19, none of the 5-to-11-year-old patients were fully vaccinated and only 23 percent of 12-to-17-year-old patients were fully vaccinated.

“Remind parents not to assume a mild respiratory illness is a routine ‘cold’” the alert urged. “Test for COVID-19.” Although COVID-19 is “usually mild in children, there are risks of serious illness and sequelae for children, and if not isolated they can contribute to community transmission.”

Number of Cases Breaking Records in NYC
New York State reported 44,431 new cases of the coronavirus this past Friday, a new record, and a rise from Thursday’s record total of 38,835 diagnosed cases. On Wednesday, the record number of daily cases diagnosed in the state was 28,924.

Governor Kathy Hochul reported 69 new deaths in New York City on Thursday from the virus.

Booster shot bonuses of $100 per shot are still being offered in the city through December 31 as an incentive to encourage New Yorkers to get that third shot.

Times Square Celebration Scaled Back
Plans for the annual New Year’s Eve bash in Times Square, where hundreds of thousands gathered in past years to watch the ball drop, this year are being scaled back due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

In addition to revelers being required to show proof of full vaccination for anyone over age 5, they are being asked to bring a valid photo ID for the “fully outdoors” event. And those who attend will be required to wear masks – even though the celebration is being held outdoors.

In addition, fewer people will be allowed to attend this year – just 15,000 – and there will be no entry until 3 pm, much later in the previous years.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.