Coronavirus ward at Shaare Zedek
Coronavirus ward at Shaare Zedek Shalev Shalom/TPS

The National Information and Knowledge Center for the Battle Against COVID-19 on Monday published a new report showing a sharp rise in the incidence of PIMS in the past ten days.

PIMS is a multi-system inflammatory syndrome affecting a small percentage of children who recover from COVID-19.

"At the same time, additional reports are accumulating from senior medical professionals in the US, regarding incidences of the syndrome in children, in connection with the Omicron wave. Since these reports are very initial, it is difficult to know exactly how often the syndrome occurs, as of now."

Data coming out of New York, showed that 31 children were diagnosed with PIMS during January, 16 of them in the past two weeks. The vast majority of these children were unvaccinated.

Before Omicron, PIMS was estimated to affect about 1 in every 3,000 children diagnosed with COVID-19.

In the US and South Africa, there have been reports of neurological issues such as encephalitis and new seizures described as unusual in character, in children who were infected with Omicron.

The Pediatric Infectious Disease Society (PIDS) found several instances of US elementary school children suffering from symptoms of encephalitis about two weeks after recovering from coronavirus. Among the common symptoms are headache, ataxia, vomiting, dizziness, nystagmus, seizures, weakness, and confusion.

Regarding the infection rate, the report noted that the number of new cases had stabilized and the infection coefficient had dropped, but attributed the change to the significant drop in official testing, both due to the weather and due to the change in policy.

At the same time, the number of seriously ill COVID-19 patients is approximately 1,100 - about ten times more than at the beginning of the month. The report emphasized that this number has not yet peaked, and the burden on the healthcare system will continue to be felt in the coming weeks, even if the infection rate slows.

The report also noted that 40% of new cases are in individuals ages 0-19, while 30% are among those ages 20-39, and 20% are among those ages 40-59. Just 10% of new coronavirus cases are among those older than 59.