Jonathan Pelletier, MD

Jay Rakkar, MD

Anecdotally, many pediatric clinicians noted a sharp drop-off in the number of admitted children after COVID-19 and associated social distancing began. Several of us began to note aloud “wow, it’s like bronchiolitis and asthma just went away.” Inspired by that thought, two Safar T32 Scholars (Jonathan Pelletier and Jay Rakkar, shown left) teamed up with several Pediatric Critical Care Medicine faculty at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Together, the group used ensemble machine-learning forecasting models to examine the usual trends in pediatric admissions between 2010-2019. Then, they were able to use their models to compare 2020 to prior years. They found that pediatric admissions were decreased 45.4% in 2020 compared to prior years. These reductions were present across a wide variety of diagnoses. Some conditions, such as asthma and bronchiolitis, may have been because of social distancing. Others, such as mental health admissions, suggest that COVID-19 has been associated with unmet healthcare needs in children.

You can read the free manuscript here: