Coronavirus cases among US children rise in late July, with more than 97,000 infections


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — According to a new study released jointly by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, more than 97,000 U.S. children tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks of July.

The report says that represents 40% jump in pediatric cases.

Dr. Elizabeth Lange, a pediatrician at Coastal Medical and former president of the Rhode Island chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, told Eyewitness News she can spot two possible reasons for the increase: more testing or, from what she says she’s seen, people hanging out too much.

“For anyone who takes care of children, this is not a surprise that the case rates are going up,” Dr. Lange added. “When children start congregating for summer camps and families start getting out for vacations this summer, it makes sense that illness is going to spread. I think everyone is looking for normal this summer, but normal in COVID-19 times needs to be thoughtful.”

The R.I. Department of Health and the study both say 8-9% of COVID-19 cases so far in Rhode Island are children under the age of 19, totaling more than 1,600 kids who have contracted the virus.

Dr. Lange said it comes down to the actions of parents and guardians.

“I’m going to put the first responsibility, honestly, at the adult level,” she said. “We all need to be wearing our masks, we all need to social distance and wash our hands well.”

“As adults, if we do that ourselves, we will decrease the burden of illness in the community and also role modeling for our children,” Dr. Lange continued. “I totally believe in children. They can rise to any occasion and I would not sell them short.”

According to the report, pediatric deaths from COVID-19 remain rare, accounting for less than 1% of the national total.

You can find the full study here.

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