Special Report

How COVID Is Affecting Children in Every State

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, schools switched to remote learning to stop the spread of the virus among children. Although children were at significantly lower risk of severe disease and death from the virus than the adult population, childhood cases of the virus nevertheless totaled 12.8 million, or 19% of the 67.4 million cases logged since the pandemic began, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children under age 18 make up 22.2% of the U.S. population, the AAP notes.

On a per capita basis, 17,024 cases were reported for every 100,000 children. Of course, as they do for adults, COVID-19 infection rates vary by state.

To find how COVID-19 is affecting children in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed Children and COVID-19 State-Level Data Report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Forty-nine states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam provide age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases, though states classify children by different age ranges. All other data is from the report.

We included all notes from the report explaining data limitations for some states. The report further notes that the data reported by state or local health departments is preliminary and subject to change.

The most recent surge, caused by the omicron variant, has also caused a spike in childhood cases. Since the beginning of January, 4.9 million children tested positive, per the AAP. It remains to be seen what effect the highly contagious BA.2 omicron subvariant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports has now become dominant in the U.S., will have on children cases.

The omicron spike coincided with children returning to in-person classes in the fall, which underscored the importance of getting young children vaccinated. Fortunately, vaccination rates for children ages 12 to 17 are fairly high, with 67% in the age group having received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 58% two doses, as of late March.

For children ages 5 to 11, 34% have received one shot and 27% have received both doses. Trials are underway for a Pfizer vaccine for children under age 5, reports CNN.

Nine states – California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, and Arizona – reported more than 400,000 childhood COVID-19 cases as of March 24, the AAP reports. Illinois led all states with a cumulative total of 685,811 cases of children up to age 19. 

Conversely, Hawaii, Guam, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia reported fewer than 30,000 childhood cases.

Click here to see how COVID is affecting children in every state

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