Teen and children hospitalizations, deaths from coronavirus increasing: report

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Coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths of children and teens are on the rise, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Although data indicate younger children are less likely to catch or transmit the virus, the May 21-Aug. 20 dataset shows a similar rise across states. Complicating matters is the fact that states use different grouping strategies, with many putting infants and teens in the same category, The New York Times notes.

Sean O’Leary, vice chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s committee on infectious diseases, said that infections among children appear to increase with general community spread. He added that, as with adults, Black and Latino children appear to be at disproportionate risk of hospitalization.

“Anyone who has been on the front lines of this pandemic in a children’s hospital can tell you we’ve taken care of lots of kids that are very sick,” O’Leary told the Times. “Yes, it’s less severe in children than adults, but it’s not completely benign.”

The share of positive coronavirus cases among children has increased in every state since spring, and nearly doubled from 5 percent in May to over 9 percent Aug. 20, according to the data.

President Trump, in pushing for schools to fully reopen, has repeatedly cited a low threat to children from the virus. In early August, he falsely claimed in a “Fox & Friends” interview that children are “almost immune.” Twitter flagged the clip as containing misinformation about the virus when the president’s campaign account shared it.

“One of the challenges is that you just can’t separate schools from the community,” William Raszka Jr., a pediatric infectious disease expert at the University of Vermont in Burlington, told the Times. “When there’s a really high prevalence rate in the community and you open schools, there’s going to be a lot of transmission in schools.”

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump Epidemiology Health Infectious diseases Pandemic

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