Dr. Scott Gottlieb pointed on Friday to the highly transmissible Covid-19 variants as a potential cause behind an increase in adolescents being hospitalized with the virus in March and April.
“It’s concerning, the trends on hospitalizations” among teenagers, said Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration chief during the Trump administration. “I think it’s a reflection of the new, more contagious variants.”
“We are seeing that these variants are more contagious across all age groups, so they’re affecting adults more, but they’re also affecting kids more, so you’re seeing more kids contract symptomatic Covid and more kids get hospitalized, as a consequence of that, particularly B. 117,” Gottlieb told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith.”
The B. 117 variant is currently the most prevalent strain in the U.S., with 20,915 reported cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the first three months of the year, CDC researchers found that nearly one-third of adolescents hospitalized with Covid required admission into an intensive care unit. Meanwhile, 5% needed invasive mechanical ventilation. To be sure, CDC data shows no teenagers in the U.S. died of Covid in the first quarter of 2021.
CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Friday urged parents to vaccinate their teenagers against Covid, citing more teenagers being hospitalized with Covid.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and is a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic testing start-up Tempus, health-care tech company Aetion Inc. and biotech company Illumina.