Coronavirus: US sees big jump in cases among children in late July

States report 40 per cent increase in child cases from July 16-30

In a photo provided by Newton County Schools, teaching assistant Crystal May talks to kindergarten student Lewis Henry Thompson, 5, as she takes his temperature at Newton County Elementary School in Decatur, Miss., Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. Thousands of students across the nation resumed in-person school Monday for the first time since March. Parents are having to balance the children's need for socialization and instruction that school provides, with the reality that the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has hit about 155,000 and cases are rising in numerous places. (Janine Vincent/Newton County Schools via AP)
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Coronavirus infections among children in the United States grew by 40 per cent in the second half of July, according to a report from the American Academy of Paediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, bringing the total number of child infections to 8.8 per cent of all US cases.

The report, which aggregates data from 49 states, comes amid heated debate over whether schools should reopen in the autumn. While the surge of infections contradicts President Donald Trump’s assertion that kids are “virtually immune”, the data also show that child infections make up a disproportionately small share of the overall outbreak in the US.

Many parents are eager to get their children back into school. Yet Covid-19 is still surging in much of the country, and there is conflicting data about how the virus is transmitted to and from children. Some schools that have already resumed classes have experienced outbreaks. Scenes of children crowded together without wearing masks have raised fears that a full nationwide reopening in September will cause a new spike of infection.

The study said 97,078 new child cases were reported from July 16-30, bringing the total number since the pandemic began to 338,982. The range of ages varied from state to state, with some including an age limit as high as 24.

California, Florida and Arizona had the highest number of total child cases in the US, with more than 20,000 each, the report found. By population, Arizona had the highest count, with more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 children, more than double the national average of 447.

There have been 86 deaths from Covid-19 among children in the US, accounting for only 0.06 per cent of fatalities in the country and 0.03 per cent of infections among children.