As of July 30, there were 338,982 cases reported in children since the pandemic began. Still, that was a relatively small fraction of the total number of coronavirus cases nationally — 8.8 percent. As of April 14, children made up just 2 percent of cases nationwide, according to the data.
The jump in pediatric cases comes as children are entering close quarters for the first time in months as some schools open their doors to students again. For months, teachers, parents and politicians have argued over whether the risks that the novel coronavirus pose to children outweigh the benefits of in-person learning.
Many school districts have chosen to operate entirely remotely until case numbers drop. Some have opted for hybrid learning systems in which children attend school in-person only a few days a week to limit crowding. But even schools with measures limiting crowds have suffered outbreaks already.
North Paulding High School, near Atlanta, made news last week when pictures spread on social media of students crowded in hallways and not wearing masks. Sunday, the school sent a letter to parents announcing the campus would be closed to in-person learning for at least two days after nine people tested positive for the virus.
Seven out of 10 new pediatric cases were reported in southern and western states, according to the report. Northeastern states saw much more limited growth in children’s cases. Arizona reported the most cases per 100,000 children, with more than 1,000 per 100,000 on July 30. Louisiana, South Carolina and Tennessee were the only other states with more than 800 cases per 100,000.
Pediatric deaths from covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, remained rare, accounting for fewer than 1 percent of the national total, the report concluded. And children represented a small share of patients hospitalized with the illness. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday found that Hispanic and Black children were substantially more likely to be hospitalized with covid-19 than their White peers.
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