The number of Covid-19 cases in children increases exponentially In America, aroused alarm among experts when the new school year began.
A recent study published from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found that nearly 339,000 coronavirus cases in children had been reported nationwide since the onset of the pandemic, with 97,000 schools. Consensus was reported in the last two weeks of July only.
The findings raise concerns about troublesome reports emerging from places that moved early to reopen schools. One day after school was back in a Georgia school district, a second grader who tested positive for coronavirus took his teacher and classmates home for two weeks of quarantine. The same week, the Georgia Department of Health confirmed the death of a 7-year-old boy, the state̵7;s youngest, who died of the virus. He does not have an underlying health condition.
Linda Rosenstock, a professor of health policy and emeritus dean of UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, says the rise in cases among young people is a reflection of how widespread it is. the virus has caused it all over the country.
“One plausible interpretation of this data is that as the number of cases increases, the more children become infected. Just in the same way that locking the door helped slow the rally, when the restrictions are loosened we see more cases, ”said Rosenstock.
“It reflects the pandemic situation raging in the United States right now,” she added. “If you try to reopen in places where the epidemic is raging, we’ll see an increase in childhood cases.”
Rosenstock said the fact that fewer children were tested earlier in a pandemic may have sparked a “myth” that children are not at risk of infection. While research shows that children tend to have milder symptoms than adults, she says the new data demonstrate the fact that children can still infect adults, whose symptoms may be. more serious.
The findings cut down on assumptions that children are unlikely to get and spread coronavirus to other adults and children – a statement Donald Trump has drawn to make a case where schools should reopen. to teach directly this fall.
What we know about children and coronavirus in the United States
A national understanding of how coronavirus affects children who have grown during a pandemic. Experts say the new study further confirms that children can play an important role in spreading the virus and in rare cases infection can lead to serious illness or death in Teenager.
Nationwide, children represent 447 positive cases out of 100,000 and 8.8% of all Covid infections, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics. About 70% of new cases reported in children in July came from the southern and western states where the coronavirus has made its way into the population.
California, which late last month saw the first death of a child by Covid, has reported more cases than other states. But the ratio of children infected to the general population is average, just above the national average. Wyoming, Tennessee and New Mexico ranked first in terms of per capita infections for children; In all three states, children account for more than 15% of all cases.
Children account for less than 4% of hospital admissions for viruses and less than 1% of Covid-related deaths in the states that report the results. Twenty states reported no child deaths.
Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician in Southern California’s Orange County and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the findings also indicate that the virus affects children differently in age groups.
Children under 5 years old tend to have the least symptoms and outbreaks among children and teachers at care centers and preschools remain low, Williamson said. The risk increases for children between the ages of 5 and 10, and children over the age of 12 appear to have more adult-like symptoms, she said.
“The tricky thing is that because young children have fewer symptoms, we can overlook the symptoms and skip checking them,” Williamson said.
The meaning of school reopening
The report comes as states and regions across the country are grappling with how to safely reopen schools for live instruction this fall, a decision that includes the educational impact on children and the economic consequences for parents hoping to find babysitting and return to work.
But cautionary stories have emerged. In late May, a few days after Israel opened schools, an infection linked to a high school in Jerusalem broke out into a terrible outbreak.
In Georgia, a summer camp that opened in late June resulted in an outbreak that left more than 75% of the 344 campers and staff tested for infection. In that case, staff wear masks, but children are not required.
Reactions to the coronavirus are determined by the state and local decision-makers complicating a unified response to the spread of the virus.
In July, the same day that Los Angeles and San Diego school principals announced they would begin the online school year, the Orange County Board of Education recommended that their schools reopen without use. mask or social. Officials have cited as part of their argument, a report appeared to be supported by a team of medical experts.
However, in the days following the report, many experts left the job, saying they had never been consulted on the final report.
Williamson said, the American Academy of Pediatrics did not consult the report and also disagree with the recommendations to return to school without safety measures.
“We have a pretty good idea of how to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in schools by staying away from society, wearing a mask, washing hands and screening the system before students enter,” Williamson said. learn. Equally important, she added, is the consistent enforcement of safety measures.
“The last piece is where it’s difficult everywhere. They started getting lax about the rules and then the lawsuits increased, ”Williamson said.
John Swartzberg, professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinations at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, said the timing of the case increase outlined in the report was not a good beacon for the shoot. Return to live tutorials in the near future.
“There is a very significant increase in the cases that happen when children drop out of school, which suggests that if we bring kids back to school, that would exacerbate the problem,” Swartzberg said.
“Gathering people together – whether they’re children or the elderly – is the worst thing you can do in the face of a pandemic,” he added.
Swartzberg says that even schools in areas with low case rates cannot completely eliminate the risk of infection, but they can reduce that risk through the use of masks, hand washing and away from society.
However, mitigation efforts will cost extra: additional classrooms will have to be used to create gaps between students, which will require more teachers.
“For the majority of public schools in America, which have been under funding for a long time, where will those resources come from? At the schools I know of in the Bay Area, teachers buy paper and crayons for the kids because the district cannot. And that was before the pandemic, ”said Swartzberg.
“Bringing children back to school, bringing students back to college, is a great experiment,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen.”