Illinois officials warn of rising coronavirus cases in younger children


Illinois, like the rest of the country, is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases among children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has released a new report showing 61-thousand children nationwide tested positive for the virus last week. As of October 29, there have been over 850-thousand cases reported in children. Children have represented more than 11% of all cases of the virus in the country.

During the daily COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in the latest statewide report that children were the third-largest group in terms of the number of cases.

“They are involved in activities and group things as well,” Ezike said. “There are sports, there's dance, there's school, there's trick-or-treating, there are birthday parties, so there is ample opportunity for our younger residents to get the infection as well.”

According to a CDC report in October, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 were twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 than kids between 5 and 11 years old.

While cases of severe illness appear to be rare among children, most times it is in infants younger than 1. The CDC said more severe cases of COVID-19 were most likely to be found in children with underlying health conditions, with chronic lung disease, including asthma, the most commonly reported condition.

The AAP said there is an urgent need for studies and more data on how the virus may affect a child’s health long-term, both physically, emotionally and mentally.

On Wednesday, IDPH reported 7,538 new coronavirus cases in Illinois with 55 additional deaths, with only one being under 60 years old. As of Tuesday night, there were 3,761 Illinoisans in the hospital with COVID-19, with 776 of them in the intensive care unit.

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