Tracey Liljestrom, MD; Sarah Corey Bauer, MD; Francesca Moral, MD; Erin Preloger, MD; Mariann Chelampath, MD
Background: Public health measures combatting the COVID-19 pandemic also led to a decrease in other pediatric respiratory illnesses. We describe the local pattern of pediatric respiratory hospitalizations in southeast Wisconsin prior to COVID-19 and during the first year of the pandemic.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional examination of hospitalizations for asthma, bronchiolitis, and bacterial pneumonia at a single tertiary children’s hospital prior to COVID-19 through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Results: We found a significant decrease in the average monthly hospitalization rates prior to and during COVID-19 for asthma, bronchiolitis, and bacterial pneumonia (P < 0.001), with average percent decrease of hospitalizations per month of 48%, 78%, and 47.7%, respectively.
Discussion: The decrease in hospitalizations is likely multifactorial and related to public health measures, behavior changes, and other epidemiological factors.