NEW YORK, NY — As families and school districts struggle with whether to send children back to the classroom, people are looking to whatever available data they can find to help inform their last-minute decisions. One of the reports to garner attention this week was from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association that showed a 40 percent increase in child coronavirus cases nationwide during the last two weeks of July.
Child cases made up a lower percentage of a state's total in only four states and New York City as of July 30. Overall, children made up about 9 percent of all cases in the country as of the end of July, with a rate of 447 per 100,000 children.
While the total cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in children climbed to 338,982, nearly 100,000 kids tested positive from July 16 to July 30.
Additionally, children made up between 3 percent and 11 percent of total state tests, and between about 4 percent and 18 percent of children tested came back positive.
Twenty states and New York City reported seeing hospitalization rates in children. Children accounted for between 0.6 percent and about 4 percent of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to the report. Between 0.6 percent and about 9 percent of all child coronavirus cases resulted in hospitalization.
Forty-four states and New York City reported data on child deaths. In those areas, kids accounted for between 0 percent and 0.8 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, with 20 reporting no child deaths. In states reporting, between 0 percent and 0.3 percent of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death
According to the report, state-level reports are the best publicly available data on COVID-19 cases in children.
All but one state provided age distributions of reported COVID-19 cases, with 44 also providing age distribution of deaths. Twenty states provided age distribution of hospitalizations, and eight gave age distributions for testing.
While parents, teachers and students in states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey can focus on their state's child coronavirus situation, New Yorkers cannot.
New York is the only state that did not provide an age distribution of cases statewide, though New York City did. Texas, it should be noted, provided an age distribution for just 8 percent of its cases.
The state's website said 1 percent of New Yorkers who were hospitalized for COVID-19 were under 20 years old. It's still not known what sort of long-term complications children can get as a result from COVID-19.
When Patch requested the age breakdown of cases statewide from the state Department of Health, the health department's press office said such information is not publicly available.
“The New York State Department of Health is working to accommodate requests for information regarding all aspects of our wide-ranging response,” the office wrote in an email Wednesday.
Publicly available data included numbers on a childhood inflammatory disease related to COVID-19, as well as the state's coronavirus tracker.
The state Department of Health is investigating 246 reported cases and 2 deaths in children — predominantly school-aged — who experienced symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome. Of the children who showed symptoms, 94 percent tested positive for COVID-19.
Age of Cases (as of Monday)
Under 1 year: 7 percent1-4: 26 percent5-9: 28 percent10-14: 23 percent15-19: 13 percent20-21: 2 percent
Cases by Race (updated Monday)
White: 22 percentBlack: 31 percentOther: 19 percentAsian: 3 percentUnknown: 24 percent
Cases by Ethnicity
Not Hispanic: 45 percentHispanic/Latino: 34 percentUnknown: 21 percent
The national report comes at the 11th hour for New York school districts, which must submit finals plans for returning to learning by the end of the week.
While parents in New York are giving feedback on plans, the New York State United Teachers union recently passed a resolution demanding what it called a “responsible plan” for reopening schools.
“While the value of in-person instruction is undeniable, the safety and wellbeing of students and staff are paramount,” the union said. “Schools must be safe havens for students; we must not allow them to become environments that foster the spread of the COVID-19 virus.”