COVID-19 CASES RISING
Health experts say children make up more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the U.S. — while comprising about 22% of the country's population — and the number and rate of child cases have been "steadily increasing" from March to July, according to a report from KCRA 3 News.
The data was posted alongside updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for pediatricians that also includes what is known about the virus in children.
"Recent evidence suggests that children likely have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared with adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in households and camp settings," the guidance states.
Transmission of the virus to and among children may have been reduced in spring and early summer due to mitigation measures like stay-at-home orders and school closures, the CDC says.
But now, schools and universities across the country are reopening and in some cases have had to readjust their approach following positive tests among students and staff. How to safely welcome students back has been an ongoing debate between local and state leaders as some push for a return to normalcy and others fear returning to class could prove deadly for some. In some cases, teachers have opted to resign rather than risk contracting the virus.
"So if I'm put into a classroom of 30 or more kids, it's a small room, there's one exit, the ventilation isn't all that great for schools," Arizona teacher Matt Chicci, who quit his job, told CNN. "It's not a good situation."
In Georgia, where several districts reopened in recent weeks, more than 1,000 students and staff were asked to quarantine following cases of coronavirus or exposures to someone infected.
While some U.S. officials have downplayed the risk coronavirus positions on children, the new CDC guidance notes children can develop severe illness and complications, even if that risk is lower compared to adults. The rate of hospitalizations among children is increasing, the guidance says, and among those hospitalized, one in three children is admitted to intensive care — the same as adults.
In the U.S., more than 5.3 million people have been infected with the virus and at least 168,900 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.