New data shows children in the U.S. are contracting the COVID-19 virus at faster rates across the country, calling into the question the popular idea that young people are relatively safe from the disease.
In ongoing data collection from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hopsital Association, cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 children in the U.S. has risen dramatically over the past four months. Overall, the per capita increase from 13 in April to nearly 450 by the end of July greatly outpaces the total population’s case rate over the same time period. This is also shown in the percentage of total cases among children, growing from just 2 percent in April to nearly 9 percent by July 30.
Some states are reporting astronomical increases in COVID-19 cases in children just as schools begin to reopen. Over the past month, there’s been a 90 percent increase in total cases in children across the U.S. One of the states with the highest increase is Florida, which has seen child cases increase by 137 percent in the past month.
There’s little evidence suggesting COVID-19 is less transmittable or severe in children, and a rising number of hospitalizations in children due to the disease coincides with increased cases. Hospitalizations for child cases of COVID-19 have risen from 0.8 percent in late May to 1.4 percent in late July of total hospitalizations. Deaths have risen much slower, going from a total of 28 in late May to now 86 as of July 30.
With a growing body of evidence showing how the coronavirus can quickly spread through children, many are calling for their local and statewide school districts to postpone in-person learning. Many students, however, are gearing up to return to school this month.