CDC data on COVID-19 incidence among children highlight outcomes and disparate impacts

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MMWR released today underscores need for monitoring, prevention and responses to disease impacts of school-aged children, school staff and their families

Between March 1 and Sept. 19 laboratory tests confirmed COVID-19 in 277,285 school-aged children across the United States. With information on symptoms missing or unknown for 37% of those children, 58% of the children reported at least one symptom of the disease, and 5% reported no symptoms at all. During that time 3,240 children were hospitalized due to the virus, including 404 children who required intensive care. Of the children diagnosed with COVID-19 over those six months, 51 them, ranging in age from 5 to 17-years-old, died.

Complete information on race and ethnicity was available for just a little more than half of the children, but the disparities among the outcomes for those children are stark. Of the 161,387 children for whom that information was available, 42% were Latinx or Hispanic, 32% were non-Hispanic and White, and 17% were non-Hispanic and Black. Of those children, 2,473 required hospitalization, and 45% of those hospitalized were Latinx or Hispanic, while 24% were Black.

The data, presented in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released today, notes that underlying conditions were reported for 16% of the school-aged children hospitalized due to COVID-19, 27% of those requiring intensive care, and 28% of those who died. Of the underlying conditions listed in the report, chronic lung disease, including asthma, was the most common. The report also notes severe COVID-19 illness and MIS-C — multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children with COVID-19 — have been reported to disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic children.

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