Coronavirus on the rise in children and adolescents in California

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Coronavirus cases in children and adolescents are increasing in California, up 150% last month, a rate that globally exceeds COVID-19 cases and establishes that minors constitute a small but growing share of COVID cases. 19 state.The increase also appears to exceed the number of coronavirus cases in children nationwide, which increased by 40% in the second half of July, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital. Assn.

Nationally, children with COVID-19 accounted for about 8.8% of all cases in the United States at the end of July, compared to 9% in California, according to the analysis.

That number continues to climb, with more than 50,000 cases among children and adolescents in California this week, accounting for about 9.5% of total cases, according to data from the California Department of Public Health. The number is further eclipsed by new cases among adults between the ages of 18 and 50, who make up the majority of cases statewide.

The data is the subject of a heated debate over when and how schools will be allowed to reopen, and what the lives of students and teachers will be like when they do.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the state had seen “encouraging signs” in some key parameters, but “not the kind of stability … that we ultimately need.”

The progress includes a 19% drop in coronavirus-related hospitalizations over the past two weeks and a 13% drop in intensive care unit admissions, Newsom said. About 8% of hospital patients statewide are being treated for COVID-19, up from 9% last week.

A new California system could allow local public health officials to grant waivers to reopen some elementary schools if surrounding counties meet certain state standards. Officials said counties with coronavirus transmission rates above 200 cases per 100,000 people should not apply.

As hospitalization rates and ICU admissions decline, “more counties will have the opportunity to review the waiver process and determine if it is the right thing” for local school districts, he said. said Mark Ghaly, California health and human services secretary.

Officials in Los Angeles County, where the rate is 335 cases per 100,000 residents, said no elementary schools would be allowed to reopen immediately. Teachers, administrators and other staff will still be allowed to return to school buildings if they observe social distancing and wear masks, officials said.

“We need to be prepared for the strong possibility that once schools reopen there will be cases,” said LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.

Although cases in children are increasing, young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 continue to account for a significant share of new coronavirus cases in California.

Health officials have linked a number of outbreaks to young adults and college campuses, including at least 45 people linked to three USC fraternities, a group of UCLA football players who have returned to campus and tested positive, and dozens of cases at UC Berkeley linked to fraternity parties.

Younger people may think that precautions such as social distancing and face protection are not important because they have a low risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus. But experts say young people can become “super spreaders,” spreading the disease to vulnerable people, including older parents and those with underlying health conditions.

“They’re bulky, they sweat,” Ferrer said, referring to the facial covers. “But they protect us all.”

Competitions and other sporting events for young people are still banned in California, but authorities have allowed the resumption of limited training and conditioning activities.

All players and coaches must maintain a physical distance of at least six feet and avoid all physical contact. Everyone should wear a face mask unless they are swimming, eating, drinking or exercising intensely, Ferrer said. She also discouraged athletes from sharing equipment or water bottles.

Children under 2 should not wear face masks, Ferrer said. No one should either have difficulty breathing, be unconscious or “otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance,” she said.

Times writer Ben Welsh contributed to this report.

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