New CDC Guidance Says Childhood COVID-19 Rates ‘Steadily Rising’

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Health experts say children account for more than 7% of all coronavirus cases in the United States – while comprising about 22% of the country’s population – and that the number and rate of child cases has “Steadily increased” from March to July.

The data was released alongside updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for pediatricians, which also includes what is known about the virus in children.

“Recent evidence suggests that children probably have the same or higher viral loads in their nasopharynx compared to adults and that children can spread the virus effectively in homes and camps,” the guide says.

Transmission of the virus to and between children may have been reduced in the spring and early summer due to mitigation measures such as stay-at-home orders and school closures, according to the CDC.

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, with some pushing for a return to normalcy and others fearing that returning to class may prove fatal for some. In some cases, teachers have chosen to quit rather than risk contracting the virus.

“So if I’m put in a classroom with 30 or more kids, it’s a small room, there is an exit, the ventilation is not very good for schools,” Matt Chicci told CNN. , Arizona teacher, who quit her job. “It’s not a good situation. ”

In Georgia, where several districts have reopened in recent weeks, more than 1,000 students and staff have been asked to self-quarantine following cases of coronavirus or exposure to an infected person.

North Paulding High School, which came under scrutiny when a student shared a photo of a crowded hallway days after the school reopened, reported 12 cases to the school and 21 cases in total during the week of August 8 to 14.

The Paulding County School District (PCSD) says, “School cases are the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 who spent at least some time on a school campus during the reported week. ”

The term “total cases” refers to “cases at school” and also “students / staff who may have been out of school for some reason and tested positive; students / staff who were identified as close contacts in another case and who subsequently tested positive in quarantine; virtual students who are enrolled in the school where they are listed but who learn remotely online, ”says the district.

In Illinois, health officials are looking for people who attended an unofficial “mini-ball.” At least five cases were linked to the event and 40 close contacts were identified.

While some U.S. officials – including the president – have downplayed coronavirus risk positions on children, new CDC guidelines say children can develop serious illness and complications, even if that risk is lower than that of children. adults. The rate of hospitalizations among children is increasing, according to guidelines, and among those hospitalized, one in three children is admitted to intensive care – the same as adults.

In the United States, more than 5.3 million people have been infected with the virus and at least 168,446 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Black and Latin populations hit hard in hotspots

Research released by the CDC on Friday also showed that in hotspot counties across the United States, blacks and Latinos have been hit hard by the virus, with the majority of counties reporting disparities in coronavirus cases in one. or several racial or ethnic groups.

“These results illustrate the disproportionate incidence of COVID-19 among communities of color, as has been shown by other studies, and suggest that a high percentage of cases in hotspot counties are among people of color.” , said the authors.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, health officials said collecting data on the impact of coronaviruses by race has helped them better develop a strategy to respond to the pandemic.

« [It] has helped us change our strategy so we can increase our reach, add additional testing sites, just really help our communities of color avoid exposure to COVID-19, ”said Jeanette Kowalik, health commissioner in the department of Milwaukee Health.

Kowalik said the data had led to conversations that would not have happened if officials had not known more people of color were affected by the virus.

Doctors warn of lasting heart complications

With new evidence and data on the virus emerging almost every week, health officials now have another warning: The risk of death from heart damage from coronavirus appears to be much higher than previously thought, said the American Heart Association.

Inflammation of the vascular system and heart damage occur in 20% to 30% of hospitalized coronavirus patients and contribute to 40% of deaths, the association said on Friday.

Dr Mitchell Elkind, president of the association, said heart complications from COVID-19 could be “devastating” and linger after recovery.

The AHA said research indicates that the coronavirus could lead to heart attacks, acute coronary syndromes, strokes, blood pressure abnormalities, clotting problems, inflammation of the heart muscle and fatal irregularities in the heart. heartbeat.

It’s a statement that has long been suggested by coronavirus patients across the country, whose bodies have been attacked in different ways by the coronavirus.

In Florida, a 21-year-old suffered from heart failure while in hospital, and weeks after his recovery, his heart rate is still being monitored and he is taking blood pressure medication – drugs that, according to his doctors, could continue for at least a year. .

There is a critical need for further research, Elkind said.

“We just don’t have enough information to provide the definitive answers people want and need. “

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