U.S. Records Significant Increase in COVID-19 Cases Among Children

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Coronavirus infections among U.S. children grew 40 per cent in the last half of July. Some schools that have already resumed classes have experienced outbreaks amid scenes of kids crowded together without wearing masks. DAVID CARPIO/GETTY IMAGES

Are we really prepared to reopen the schools?

That’s the question on everyone’s lips after a new report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association exposed an alarming increase in infections among children under 18 in the country.

According to CNN, the researchers found a 40% increase in child coronavirus cases in 49 states, New York City, DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam, including states like Alabama, where control protocols have been less strict.

The summary showed that children accounted for between 3 and 11% of the total state COVID-19 tests. Of those tests, between 3.6 and 17.8% of the children tested positive.

According to the report, California, Florida, and Arizona had the largest number of children in the United States, with more than 20,000 each. Arizona had the highest count, with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 children, more than twice the national average of 447.

Nationally, at least 86 children have died from COVID-19 since May, according to the report’s figures. Although children account for 8.8% (338,982) of total cases nationally, the population’s proportion is significant (447 cases per 100,000 children).

Between July 16 and 30, the study identified a 40% increase in child cases, totaling 97,078 cases.

Despite these figures, and the lack of consistent control measures at the national level, some states insist on re-exposing children to return to school.

According to CNN, states such as Florida, which have the highest infection rates nationally, are planning to reopen schools in at least 12 counties.

In Georgia, North Paulding High School had to return to remote classes after nine new cases were reported among students, and after one student posted a picture of a crowded hallway with no one wearing a mask.

The spread of the new coronavirus among children (seen in some research as young as 24) remains a mystery. According to NBC News, European studies have shown a connection between the disease and “significant neurological effects” on young brains. 

Another study conducted in July in Chicago also showed that children under five years old could carry the same viral load in their noses as older children and adults. However, the mechanism of transmission is still under investigation.