A new report released by the CDC shows that majority of children who died from COVID-19 from February 12 to July 31 are Hispanics, Blacks, and American Indians under the age of 21. These statistics is very important to policymakers given that most of the fatalities occur within the age at which kids go to college – educational institutions where they might be further exposed to coronavirus.
According to the report, there are over 390,000 COVID-19 infections and 121 deaths within the period under review, and 78% of these are kids aged 18-20 of Hispanics, Blacks, and Native Americans. Studies are done before this time revealed that coronavirus deaths among adults aged 65 are twice for people of color than it is for white Americans.
A pediatric emergency specialist at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, Monika Goyal, said she is not surprised with the new CDC finding given that her own research published in the journal Pediatrics showed that 20% of the 1,000 children that tested positive for COVID-19 between March and April in Washington are children.
The CDC report made it clear that 75% of the children that died in the study had at least one underlying condition that worsened their infection with coronavirus. These range from cardiovascular disease to obesity and asthma among others. The study also found that certain factors such as crowded living conditions, racial discrimination, wealth disparity, educational gap, and other social factors contributed to the deaths of the kids.
Again, ethnic minorities are more in essential services and their jobs place them at higher risks for coronavirus exposure which could be transmitted to their families back at home, the report finds. If anything, CDC said the study reveals the ethnic and social discriminations that engender people of color to coronavirus infections and transmission in America.
“What COVID has done is really shone a spotlight on these long-standing health disparities that affect children and people of color in our society,” Goyal said. “I truly hope that this is a call to action, that we as a society come together to really try to mitigate these disparities by addressing those root causes.”
Despite the deaths among children and youths, Goyal insisted that the figure for deaths for kids under the age of 21 years is just 0.08% of the over 190,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States, underscoring the fact that children are less at risk of contracting and dying from the pandemic.
“I do think that it’s important for the public to not panic,” she added. “Thankfully, the majority of children have a mild infection and recover.”