As the debates on the ethics of sending kids back to in-person school continue around the country (with many children already back in the classroom), for many parents and teachers the list of uncertainties about having their kid in a school building with numerous other kids (with varying requirements for social distancing and mask-wearing best-practices) grow by the day. Adding to the concerns, a new American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) report dropped on July 30 found that more than 97,000 children in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus during the last two weeks of July.
With 97,078 cases reported, according to the report, researchers say they observed a 40 percent increase in cases of the disease in children in areas they were studying during that window.
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During the month of July, the AAP notes that there were 338,982 total child COVID-19 cases (cumulative). In their state-by-state breakdown, they found that six states had 15,000+ cumulative child cases, half of states reported 5,000+ child cases and ten states reported fewer than 1,000 child cases total.
“On July 30, the age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. While children represented only 8.8% of all cases in states reporting cases by age, over 338,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic,” the AAP writes on their website. “A smaller subset of states reported on hospitalizations and mortality by age, but the available data indicated that COVID-19-associated hospitalization and death is uncommon in children…At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on COVID-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age so that the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health can continue to be documented and monitored.”
The report does note that there have been at least 86 children who have died from COVID-19 since May — making up between 0-0.4 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
This report comes just after another study dropped suggesting that children might play more of a role in the spread of the virus than experts initially understood: As that study noted, “young children can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population, as has been demonstrated with respiratory syncytial virus, where children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit.” It also comes after medical professionals announced they are watching another condition — a multi-system inflammatory disease with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease/toxic shock syndrome — affecting children that they believe may be linked to the virus.
For parents, this new data can help further encourage people to step away from the early narrative that the virus isn’t as much of a concern for kids or any people who aren’t categorized in the initial at-risk groups. As it is a new virus and information on how it moves through different kinds of bodies is ever-developing, it’s all the more crucial that we consider the latest understanding of the virus as we make the important (potentially disastrous) back-to-school decisions.
Before you go, check out the best kids face masks you (probably) won’t have to wrestle on to tiny faces:
Launch Gallery: The Things You Need in Your Coronavirus First Aid Kit
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