CDC: Teens Contract COVID At Nearly 'Double' The Rate Of Younger Kids

by Julie Scagell

The study can help schools plan for future learning options

As schools reopen and administrators continually monitor coronavirus cases in their counties, a new study shows teenagers are twice as likely to become infected with COVID-19 than younger children. While children of all ages are at a lower rate of serious impact from the virus, they can still have consequences that heath experts currently don’t know the full extent of.

The coronavirus infection rate among kids ages 12 and 17 is “approximately double” that of younger children, according to a new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers are urging secondary schools to look at the new information and “layer prevention strategies to reduce COVID-19 disease risk for students, teachers, school staff, and families.”

The study, published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, analyzed 277,285 confirmed positive cases in school-aged children in the U.S. between March and mid-September. What they found was the average weekly incidence of COVID-19 among this age group was 37% in kids ages five to 11 and 63% among those 12 to 17.

“Although mortality and hospitalization in school-aged children was low, Hispanic ethnicity, Black race, and underlying conditions were more commonly reported among children who were hospitalized or admitted to an ICU,” researchers wrote.

The study also found coronavirus cases were “approximately threefold” among people under the age of 19 since May of this year. This suggests they “might be playing an increasingly important role in community transmission.” The study also said it is important to have a baseline set as schools and county health officials look at the possibility from moving from full distance to hybrid learning, and hybrid to full-time in-person classes.

“During March through May, widespread shelter-in-place orders were in effect, and most U.S. schools transitioned to online learning. In June and July, when community mitigation measures were relaxed in some areas, incidence increased more rapidly,” the study said.

The study is in line with reports of increased coronavirus cases happening as colleges and universities reopen and find clusters due to parties and communal living. Teens have more freedom to get together outside of school and choose whether to wear a mask, where younger kids are monitored more by adults. Talking with teens about their role in community spread remains an important step to help slow the virus.

Health experts have previously said that young children can still spread the coronavirus though they’re less likely to see serious effects from the virus than adults. “It is important for schools and communities to monitor multiple indicators of Covid-19 among school-aged children and layer prevention strategies to reduce Covid-19 disease risk for students, teachers, school staff, and families,” the researchers wrote.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.