PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Students are preparing to head back to school next month, but a spike in COVID-19 cases among children and young adults nationwide and locally has health officials concerned.
Nationwide, children and teens represent 19% of current overall, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a national organization that notes infections among that age group have risen each week since June.
A Target 12 analysis of R.I. Department of Health data locally shows a similar trend, as infections have risen sharply among children and young adults since total cases started trending upward last month.
The same is happening in Massachusetts, where health officials report case rates during the final two weeks of July were higher among children and younger adults than anyone over the age of 60.
Dr. Michael Koster, the pediatric infectious disease director at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, described the recent uptick in cases among children as “astonishing.” He pointed to the highly-contagious delta variant as likely contributing to the recent spike, especially because children under the age of 12 are ineligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
“The gravity of this virus is that its finding people who haven’t been vaccinated, and that includes children,” Koster said.