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Who’s getting COVID-19 right now? Children are at major risk, experts say

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association released new numbers about children and infections

A Salt Lake County Health Department community health worker and vaccinator gives a child a COVID-19 vaccination.
Claudia Ceron, a Salt Lake County Health Department community health worker and vaccinator, gives Ivonne Camacho, 8, a COVID-19 vaccination at Hillsdale Elementary School in West Valley City on Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. The number of coronavirus cases in children surged over the last week, jumping 32% in the last two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The number of coronavirus cases in children surged over the last week, jumping 32% in the last two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

  • More than 140,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 from Nov. 11 to Nov. 18.
  • Only 107,000 tested positive for the week that ended Nov. 4, per the academy.
  • Right now, children represent about 25% of the country’s COVID-19 cases for the week. Children under 18 make up about 22% of the U.S.

Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chairman of the academy’s infectious diseases committee, told The New York Times that this is a dangerous sign of the current COVID-19 spread.

  • “Is there cause for concern? Absolutely,” he said. “What’s driving the increase in kids is there is an increase in cases overall.”

Per The New York Times, children are less likely to develop severe illness from COVID-19 compared to adults. That said, children can still experience major health issues, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome and hospitalization.

Earlier in November, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved vaccinations for children 5 to 11 years old with two smaller doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine given three weeks apart, as the Deseret News reported.

Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah Health, told the Deseret News that schools may be to blame for the high number of COVID-19 cases among kids, especially after the Utah Legislature made it harder for schools to impose mandates.

  • “Most of the blame, I think, has to be laid at the fact that we did an excellent job last year at making schools safe with masking and distancing and testing. And we have abandoned most of those practices in many but not all of our schools,” he said.