The incidence of Covid-19 among adolescents appears to be much higher than what’s seen among younger children, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report, published on Monday, found the average weekly incidence of Covid-19 among adolescents ages 12 to 17 between May and September was about 37 cases per 100,000 children—nearly double the 19 cases per 100,000 children ages 5 to 11.
“Since March, a period during which most U.S. schools conducted classes virtually or were closed for the summer, the incidence among adolescents was approximately double that in younger children,” CDC researchers wrote in the report.
“Although mortality and hospitalization in school-aged children was low, Hispanic ethnicity, Black race, and underlying conditions were more commonly reported among children who were hospitalized or admitted to an ICU, providing additional evidence that some children might be at increased risk for severe illness associated with COVID-19,” the report said.
More on this report: The report included data on 277,285 laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 cases among school-aged children in the United States from March 1 to Sept. 19. Among those cases, 37% were in children ages 5 to 11 and 63% were in adolescents.
The report also noted that the weekly incidence and percentage of positive Covid-19 tests among the school-aged patients appeared to vary over time and by region.
Overall, 58% of the patients reported at least one Covid-19 symptom, 5% reported no symptoms and information was missing or unknown for the rest of the cases. The data also showed that 1.2% were hospitalized, including 404 patients who required ICU admission and 51 patients who died of Covid-19.
At least one underlying health condition was reported for 3% of all the cases, such as asthma, diabetes, psychological conditions, cardiovascular disease and severe obesity, according to the report.
The data might underestimate the true incidence of disease among school-aged children, as testing was often prioritized for people with symptoms and those without symptoms may not have been tested as often, the researchers noted.
Yet overall, the CDC researchers wrote, “These findings can provide a baseline for monitoring national trends.”