Several states — including Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan — are reporting school-related COVID-19 outbreaks.
The Georgia Department of Public Health has reported that 60% of all COVID cases from the last two months occurred in K-12 schools.
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Georgia’s caseload has increased roughly tenfold since July, and the state is averaging almost 7,000 new cases daily. The state also ranks near the bottom in terms of vaccination rates, with a vaccinated percentage of only 43%.
Ohio, too, has reported a 44% increase in cases among school-aged children since Aug. 15. Cases in the rest of the state’s population increased by 17%. Only about half of Ohio schools require masks.
Pennsylvania is reporting 10 times the number of COVID-19 cases in school-aged children compared to last year, when the state was doing remote learning.
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Michigan has announced that its COVID-19 cases among school-aged children have doubled. The data, released by the Michigan State Health Department, shows that there are 344 new outbreaks and 538 ongoing outbreaks. Michigan’s vaccination rate is 51.3%, just short of the national average.
New Jersey has reported 133 cumulative COVID-19 cases in children–the result of 6 separate outbreaks. Of those, none were hospitalized, according to New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli. Gov. Phil Murphy announced that 82% of all eligible New Jersey residents have received their first dose of the vaccine. This rate is one of the highest in the country.
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Nationally, the American Association of Pediatrics has released data showing that pediatric COVID cases have increased by 240% in the last two months. However, an end may be in sight if the vaccine is approved for school-aged children.
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“The FDA says it will be a matter of weeks, not months, to make a determination if they’re going to authorize vaccines for kids between 5 and 11,” said former Food and Drug Administration commissioner and Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb. “I interpret that to be perhaps four weeks, maybe six weeks.”