Politifact: Sotomayor’s Child COVID Numbers Inaccurate

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s inflated claim that there are 100,000 pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations is incorrect, reports Politifact.

Sotomayor made the claim during oral arguments in a case involving the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private businesses with at least 100 employees.

“We have over 100,000 children, which we’ve never had before, in serious condition, and many on ventilators” due to the coronavirus, Sotomayor incorrectly stated on Friday at the court session.

According to federal data, there are only 3,342 children currently hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19, a number that goes up to 4,652 if suspected coronavirus cases are included, with both figures being less than 5% of the total the justice stated.

Even if all pediatric hospitalization cases since August 1, 2020 are added up, the number is 82,842, according to the CDC.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Sunday said Sotomayor’s numbers are way off.

“Yeah,” Walensky said during an interview with Fox News when asked whether there were fewer than 3,500 cases. 

“But, you know, here’s what I can tell you about our pediatric hospitalizations now,” continued the head of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“First of all, the vast majority of children who are in the hospital are unvaccinated, and for those children who are not eligible for vaccination, we do know they are most likely to get sick with COVID if their family members aren’t vaccinated,” she said, pushing the Biden administration’s mantra that the unvaxxed are fueling the continued pandemic.

Politifact pointed out that the 100,000 figure Sotomayor cited may be referring to an American Academy of Pediatrics report that as of the end of December, “child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000.”

However, that same report also stressed that “it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children.”

Politifact acknowledged that the number of child coronavirus-positive admissions has gone up significantly since the omicron variant became dominant last month, but nowhere near the rate Sotomayor mentioned.

Walensky pointed out to Fox News that the numbers of COVID hospitalizations generally include those who go to hospitals for other reasons and then test positive while they are there, stating that “in some hospitals that we’ve talked to, up to 40% of the patients who are coming in with COVID are coming in not because they’re sick with COVID but because they’re coming in with something else and have had COVID or the omicron variant detected.”

Walensky stressed that even though Sotomayor’s figures were incorrect, getting vaccinated is a still a good way to reduce the chances of hospitalization, stating that “the vast majority of children who are in the hospital are unvaccinated, and for those children who are not eligible for vaccination we do know they are most likely to get sick with COVID if their family members aren’t vaccinated.”

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