Children Now Make Up 22% of Covid Cases, but Why?

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Photo Courtesy of Ketut Subiyanto

An adult is seen putting a mask on a child.

Children Now Make Up 22% of Covid Cases, but Why?

The COVID-19 virus has affected millions of people around the world, including children. While the amount of child cases has decreased significantly since the start of the new year, the American Academy of Pediatrics has now stated that children represent 22.4% of current cases, here’s why.

According to NPR, “Experts link the trend to several factors – particularly high vaccination rates among older Americans. The U.S. recently announced 100 million people were fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But other dynamics are also in play, from new COVID-19 variants to the loosening of restrictions on school activities.”

The high vaccination rates found within older Americans means that while those cases will decrease by a substantial amount, the proportion of cases in children will change as well.

“We’ve seen a dramatic drop in the proportion of cases that are happening in those individuals, which is great news. But that, just by simple math, is going to change the proportion of cases that are happening in the other demographics.” as said by NPR.

With this, new outbreaks have been seen within school and school related activities. More children have been returning to in-person school in the last couple of months, which has put them at a much higher risk for transmitting the virus.

“With mitigation measures in place in school, it still appears that transmission is much lower than it is in the surrounding community. But when you have a surge in the surrounding community, it’s inevitable that you’re going to see it in schools.” according to NPR.

Pfizer has now asked the FDA to approve use of authorization of the vaccine for 12-15 year olds, as their clinical trials have shown efficacy of 100%. This could drastically lower the percent of child cases seen today.

“Pfizer submitted their data to the FDA last month. So that could be a big game changer because we’ve known all along that adolescents tend to be both more likely to get infected and to spread the infection relative to the younger kids. So getting that population vaccinated is also going to make a difference in these dynamics. And I think it also can make a big difference for a lot of families’ summer plans.” as said by NPR.

Overall, the raised percentage of children contracting COVID-19 in the U.S. has been due to many factors, but the hope is that we will be able to begin vaccinations for those in this age group soon and will see a decrease in numbers.

“Eligibility will likely expand within months to even younger children. Pfizer plans to seek emergency authorization in September to administer its vaccine to children between the ages of 2 and 11.” as said by The New York Times.

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