COVID-19 more common in adolescents than children

Sept. 30, 2020

States and laboratories have reported 277,285 cases of COVID-19 in children since March, with the incidence among adolescents approximately twice that of younger children. Underlying medical conditions were more common among school-aged children with severe outcomes related to COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

During March 1–September 19, 2020, a total of 277,285 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in school-aged children were reported in the United States, including 101,503 (37 percent) in children from 5–11 years of age and 175,782 (63 percent) in adolescents from 12–17 years of age. Overall, 50.8 percent were female. Among 161,387 (58 percent) school-aged children with COVID-19 and complete information on race and ethnicity, 42 percent were Hispanic, 32 percent were White, and 17 percent were Black.

Among school-aged children who were hospitalized, admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), or who died, 16 percent, 27 percent, and 28 percent, respectively, had at least one underlying medical condition.

Overall, the weekly incidence of COVID-19 among school-aged children varied over time. The number of cases increased from March 1, peaking at 37.9 cases per 100,000 the week of July 19. The cases then plateaued at an average of 34 per 100,000 during July 26–August 23, decreased to 22.6 per 100,000 the week of September 6, and rebounded to 26.3 per 100,000 during the last week for which data are available, the CDC reported.

As a result of these findings, the CDC said, “It is important for schools and communities to monitor multiple indicators of COVID-19 among school-aged children and layer prevention strategies to reduce COVID-19 disease risk for students, teachers, school staff, and families.”

Visit the CDC for more news