ON SEPTEMBER 13TH pupils in New York City, America’s biggest school district, will make a full return to classrooms for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That will be a relief for many parents. But it will also bring fear. In America, until recently adults suffered the highest infection rates; today the virus is spreading fastest among young people (see chart). Cases in children are surging, accounting for more than a quarter of total infections in the country in the week ending September 2nd.
Compared with other school districts, New York City is something of a straggler. Pupils in Tuloso-Midway School District in Texas have been back at their desks since the middle of July. Children in Los Angeles, the country’s second-largest school district, began their studies four weeks ago. Parents in New York City will doubtless be wondering whether and how the return to school elsewhere has contributed to the recent spike in cases among young people.
A poverty-fighting measure included in the COVID-19 relief bill passed this year will deliver monthly payments to households including 88% of children in the United States, starting in July, Biden administration officials said on Monday.
The Democratic-backed American Rescue Plan, signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, expanded a tax credit available to most parents.
Those people will get up to $3,000 per child, or $3,600 for each child under the age of 6, in 2021, subject to income restrictions. The benefit will reach 39 million households, many automatically and by direct deposit every month, starting on July 15.
In a key step toward ending the coronavirus pandemic, kids as young as 6 years old will be included in the clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine. The University of Oxford has launched a new study to assess the safety and effectiveness of its vaccine with AstraZeneca in children for the first time.
In a new statement, the university says the trial will assess immune response in kids ages 6 to 17, an age group hit hard by school closures due to the pandemic. Around 300 volunteers are enrolled, expected to get their first inoculations this month.
In the single-blind, randomized study, up to 240 participants will receive the COVID vaccine, while the control group will receive a meningitis vaccine, which is safe for children and produces a similar reaction.
While much of the world is engaged in a frantic scramble to get vaccinated against covid-19, there’s one group noticeably absent from the queues of people at vaccine clinics: children.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is still approved for use only in those aged 16 years or older, and the Moderna vaccine is only for adults. Both are now in trials for younger age groups, and results are expected by the summer. The Oxford-AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also due to start trials in children soon. But in a world where most vaccines are given to children under two, why is it that during a global pandemic, children are being left behind? And what does it mean for how the pandemic will unfold in adults?
One reason children are not yet priorities for vaccination is that they are much less affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection than adults. Children make up nearly 13% of all cases reported in the United States so far, but less than 3% of all reported hospitalizations and less than 0.21% of all covid-19 deaths. When they have symptoms, they are similar to adults’—cough, fever, sore throat, and runny nose—but less severe.
The number of children’s visits to hospital emergency rooms for mental health treatment has increased by 24-31 percent since the start of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).