Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve grown accustomed to seeing children account for 14.3% of the total case count. However, based on reported cases from last month, in the two-week period from July 15 to July 29, we saw kids make up 19% of all COVID cases, or roughly 1 in 5.
The virus’s new Delta variant, which is becoming known for spreading as fast as chickenpox, circulates with ease among unvaccinated people. Experts attribute the increased case counts among kids to Delta’s increased speed of travel.
The speed is real. Last week, nationwide, kids accounted for 72,000 new COVID cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The week prior, that number had been down at 39,000.
Striking a more optimistic note, an infectious disease specialist from the University of California San Francisco, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, said in an interview with WoodTV.com, “I predict that younger kids (especially the under-12 set) will still be overall spared from delta.”
To be sure, numbers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that those hospitalized with COVID-19 are largely in the 18-to-49 age range.
Still, the overall trend shows an increasing COVID case volume among children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association tracked 110,380 positive cases nationwide among kids in the second half of July, whereas in the first two weeks of the month, they’d logged 43,033.
Even here in California, a state not drawing recent headlines for COVID outbreaks, the latter half of July saw 13,757 infected children below the age of 18, according to numbers from George Lemp, an infectious disease epidemiologist and former director of the University of California HIV/AIDS Research Program. In contrast, the earlier half of the month had seen 4,835.
Late last week, down in the O.C., the Orange County Health Care Agency saw its daily case count among children under age 18 rise from 134 on Thursday to 173 on Friday. Altogether on Friday, that agency logged 1,108 new cases, meaning the ones among children accounted for 16%.
More local to Milpitas, just last week the Brentwood Union School District revealed that 6 students and staff members had tested positive for COVID-19 after being on campus. Meanwhile, Liberty Union High School District revealed 5 new positive cases among students who’d been in class (as of now, that district has tracked 15 cases total). Both districts are committed to keeping their schools open.
On July 30, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan, who is Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, released a joint statement with other local superintendents, showing support for in-person learning for the 2021-2022 school year.
Schools in Milpitas are set to reopen their doors this coming Thursday, August 12.