SYRACUSE — A new national study from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found that 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks of July, a 40 percent increase of cases.
Dr. William Raszka, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont, says, “That is not at all surprising, children are not immune to COVID-19.”
CNYCentral spoke with Dr. Raszka at the beginning of July before thousands of children tested positive.
In July, he had just released a commentary titled “Kids Rarely Transmit COVID-19.”
“You cannot separate children from the rest of the community when there is just an astronomical rise in COVID-19 cases in adults across the country, you are going to see a similar rise in the number of pediatric cases,” said Dr. Raszka.
He believes one reason for the spike in cases was because of widespread testing.
The data in his commentary made three points: children are less likely to become infected, less likely to transmit infection, and less likely to develop severe disease.
“The one that is most solid is they are less likely to develop severe disease, the data is crystal clear on that,” said Dr. Raszka.
He says the data still suggests that younger children are less likely to transmit the disease, but high schoolers and college students are more likely to transmit.
“For the viewers in New York, I would say you live in a low prevalence area so this is the time to do in-person learning, this is the time to get those kids in K through 5th grade into school,” said Dr. Raszka.
The national study shows that New Jersey and New York City reported that 3 percent or less of their cases were children, which is lower than most of the country.
“I think you should really look at your community prevalence rate, that is what will really drive it,” said Dr. Raszka.
Although less likely to transmit, Dr. Raszka says children can still absolutely become infected with COVID-19.