There is a dramatic increase in the number of coronavirus cases among children in the United States, according to a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
That study says the number of cases increased 90% in four months and shows juvenile cases in California were up 150% last month. In California, a child is defined as someone up to the age of 17 years old. The study comes the same week the San Diego Unified School District announced students would not be going back for in-person learning for months.
“I was both surprised and not surprised by the study,” said Dr. Mark Sawyer, pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rady Children’s Hospital and UC San Diego.
Dr. Sawyer said it's not a huge surprise given the surge in cases in the community overall, but went on to say, “I think it’s a little surprising and what I’m concerned about is that it went up so quickly just in the last few weeks.”
Children rarely become severely ill with COVID-19, according to Sawyer.
“They may get infected and they may transmit it to others, but they don’t get sick enough to end up in the hospital, except very rarely,” he said.
Still, Sawyer knows that doesn't mean San Diego County is ready to reopen schools.
“I think it’s a warning message for parents that we can’t be casual with our children,” said Sawyer, adding that parents need to teach their children to wear masks and practice social distancing.
“If we do that, we do that collectively as a community, both adults and children are going to benefit," he said.