COVID-19 cases in children are higher than they’ve ever been
Since the arrival of the more contagious Delta strain, COVID-19 has been, tragically, affecting children more so than ever before in the pandemic. Children under age 12 are still not able to get the COVID-19 vaccine and it means that our nation’s children are bearing the brunt of the viral spread. Case in point: In one week in early August, more than 121,000 kids tested positive for the virus.
Per the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), more than 121,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. for the week ending August 8, 2021, and as CNN writes, “that’s more than 14 times the number of child cases reported in the week ending June 24.”
According to the AAP, this year’s COVID-19 is affecting children more seriously than it did earlier in the pandemic.
“Since the pandemic began, children represented 14.4% of total cumulated cases. For the week ending August 12, 2021 children were 18.0% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases,” the AAP announced in a statement.
Officials worry that this is only going to get worse as students go back to school, especially considering many schools don’t require universal mask-wearing.
“You have two weapons here, one is vaccines the other is masking, and for children less than 12 that’s the only weapon they have,” Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the US Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee, told CNN.
Two school districts have made headlines in recent days for the sheer number of students needing to be quarantined for COVID-19 so early in the school year. CNN reports that 3,000 students and employees were quarantined in the New Orleans Public School District in the last week. Over in Florida, Hillsborough County Public Schools, a district that includes 220,000 students, announced that as of Monday, August 16, at least 5,599 students and 316 employees within the district are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure.
The COVID-19 data when it comes to children continues to be shocking and depressing.
Florida now accounts for 1/5th of all COVID-19 cases in the country and the CDC reports that for the week ending August 15, 2021, an average of 56 kids were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida, every single day
The AAP does state that “at this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children.” However, the Academy also says that way more data is needed about whether or not children who get mild cases of COVID-19 are affected by “long covid” in the same way that adults are.
At this point, getting vaccinated isn’t just a “personal choice,” it’s a choice that protects the children around you who are too young for the vaccine.