The start of the school year coincided with increasing COVID-19 infections among children, according to the latest data from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
“Having children in the classroom is critically important to learning,” Dr. Patrice Harris, former president of the American Medical Association and current CEO and co-founder of digital telehealth company, eMed, told Fox News in part. “Keeping schools open is a particular challenge now as we have seen an increasing number of children with moderate illness and hospitalized with COVID-19.”
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As of Aug. 26, an estimated 204,000 new cases occurred among children over the week prior, with a 9% uptick spanning a two-week period and an over five-fold increase in cases since mid-July, rising from 38,000 by July 22, per the AAP.
The number of children infected with COVID-19 reached winter-time surges for the second consecutive week, however severe illness due to COVID-19, virus-related hospitalizations and death continue to be uncommon among children, the pediatrics group also noted. Nevertheless, pediatric COVID-19-related hospitalizations have hit all-time highs in the U.S., with the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting over 52,600 admissions through the month of August thus far.
CDC data also indicate teens aged 16-17 hold the highest number of cases per 100,000 population across all age groups at 254.4 per 100,000, followed by adolescents aged 12-15 at 243.6 per 100,000.
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The latest figures from the pediatrics group follow news that a Central Texas school district closed its schools until after the Labor Day holiday Tuesday after two teachers died last week of COVID-19. Connally Independent School District officials closed its five suburban Waco schools for the rest of the week after the Saturday COVID-19 death of Natalia Chansler, 41, a sixth grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High School, said Assistant Superintendent Jill Bottelberghe.
Chansler’s death came days after David McCormick, 59, a seventh grade social studies teacher at Connally Junior High, died of COVID-19, Bottelberghe said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.