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 Hospital Association, cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 children in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the past five months. Overall, the per capita increase from 13 in April to nearly 800 by mid-September 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 10.3 percent by Sept. 17.
Some states are reporting astronomical increases in COVID-19 cases in children just as schools begin to reopen. In July, the U.S. had a 90 percent increase in total cases among children, with states like Florida seeing child cases increase by 137 percent.
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 1.7 percent in September of total hospitalizations. Deaths have risen relatively slower, going from a total of 28 in late May to 109 as of Sept. 17.
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 pushing forward with regular in-person classes to start the school year.