And millions of kids probably had this latest strain without their parents ever knowing about it.
No parent wants to think that their child was sick and they never knew it. But according to new data coming from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, this may be the case for more parents and guardians during the COVID-19 outbreak than we’d like to realize.
New information from the CDC regarding antibody testing has found that millions more people have had COVID than have been reported, and that that number probably includes about 58% of kids.
We can learn more about how many asymptomatic cases of covid there have been by looking at how many people are carrying COVID antibodies around in their bloodstreams, and that’s exactly what the CDC did to discover just how widespread the last strain was.
According to new estimates by the CDC, more than 43% of the US population (140,018,000 Americans) have been infected with COVID-19 as of January 2022 — and this estimate comes from examining blood samples for COVID-19 antibodies.
As the Huffington Post points out, this January 2022 estimate of 140 million isn’t just larger than the verified case count of 79,198,539 as of the first week of March — it’s nearly double the number of people who have had reported and confirmed cases of COVID-19.
That suggests there’s a huge number of Americans who’ve had COVID-19 without knowing it, perhaps because they didn’t get tested, didn’t receive positive results at the time, or didn’t report positive home tests. And when it comes to kids, the overall infection rate estimate is even higher — which shouldn’t be surprising given highly-infectious omicron variant that hit when kids were back in school for in-person learning.
According to the CDC’s study, more than 58% of kids under 18 years old (roughly 43 million) have COVID-19 antibodies — and the number could be even higher given that it’s still unknown how long antibodies remain after an infection. But there’s only been about 12.7 million confirmed pediatric cases of COVID as of March 3.
This could be for many reasons including that since kids tend to have milder symptoms, some parents didn’t get them tested — or that a number of moms and dads simply didn’t know their child even had COVID. Or that their kid previously had an asymptomatic COVID case they weren’t aware of, so when testing later after a family member or close contact got it, the child ended up being negative due to higher immunity from that past infection.
“Notably, if your child had COVID months ago, or had a mild case of COVID, the antibodies generated might have come and gone before you do the test,” Dr. Kelly Fradin, a pediatrician and author of “Parenting in a Pandemic,” told HuffPost. “Accordingly, a test is limited in its ability to tell you about prior infection.”
However, as we continue to navigate pandemic life, with all of the unknowns that come with it, and as mask restrictions start to ease in schools, there’s one thing that we do know. It doesn’t matter whether your kid has previously had COVID or not — there’s still a risk of reinfections and we need to continue to do everything we can to keep our children, as well as immunocompromised loved ones and high-risk community members safe. Listening to the CDC and their most current recommendations is going to be vital in controlling this disease and keeping our kids safe.