COVID-19 cases spike among unvaccinated youth

Public health officials raise concern over rising cases of coronavirus in children.



Andi Basista and Caleb Jonker

Across the nation, children are headed back to school, and for many students that means returning to the classroom for the first time in over a year. Los Angeles County health officials are concerned over an increased trend in coronavirus cases in children not yet eligible to receive the vaccine.

While cases in all adult age groups decreased over the past three weeks, new cases among unvaccinated children aged 12–18 spiked from 73 to 307 per 100,000 youth, according to LA County Public Health’s news release.

Unvaccinated children are four to eight times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, per the news release. Additionally, unvaccinated individuals are five to seven times more likely to be hospitalized, according to the report. 


On Aug. 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that cases in the United States rose to 172,000 new cases—the highest number of new cases in a day since January. The delta variant in particular affects unvaccinated people the most, and a large section of this demographic are children under 12, according to WIRED

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, the CDC stated that the increase in pediatric cases is likely caused by an increase in community cases. While the CDC promoted the use of ventilation, masks, social distancing and screening tests, according to the article, many schools opted out of recommending these restrictions. 

The CDC guidelines for reopening K-12 schools recommends the universal use of masks for schools returning in person in order to ensure safety of the students. Not every school chooses to follow these guidelines. Some notable exceptions include South Carolina, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Utah. According to Politico, many of these states have indoor masking prohibitions.

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