Black and Hispanic children may face greater COVID-19 risks


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A federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of more than 277,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school-age children shows adolescents had higher positivity rates than younger children and that race and underlying medical conditions may lead to increased risks of severe illness.

The CDC report shows that between May and September, the average weekly incidence – positive cases per 100,000 children – among adolescents ages 12 to 17 was 37.4 percent, compared to 19 percent for children ages 5 to 11.

Similar to adults, underlying medical conditions appear to play a role in how children fare.

“Among school-aged children who were hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit, or who died, 16 percent, 27 percent, and 28 percent, respectively, had at least one underlying medical condition,” the report said.
Fifty-eight percent of the cases reviewed for the report had complete information on the children’s races and ethnicities. Of those 161,387 cases, 42 percent involved Hispanic children, 32 percent were non-Hispanic white and 17 percent were non-Hispanic Black.

Hispanic children accounted for 46 percent of cases among younger children and 39 percent of cases among adolescents.

“Although mortality and hospitalization in school-aged children was low, Hispanic ethnicity, Black race, and underlying conditions were more commonly reported among children who were hospitalized or admitted to an ICU, providing additional evidence that some children might be at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19,” the report said.

“Acute COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (a potentially dangerous condition known as MIS-C) have been reported to disproportionately affect Hispanic and Black children. Implementing multiple, concurrent mitigation strategies and tailored communications about the importance of promoting and reinforcing behaviors that reduce spread of COVID-19 … can reduce COVID-19 spread in schools and communities.”

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