Just a few states are seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases among children, and Michigan is one of them.

Michigan recently extended its pandemic order and extended mask requirements to include children as young as 2 years old.

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What are the numbers?

The latest data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services indicates that as of Thursday, April 22, there are 92,450 cases of COVID-19 among those from age 10 to 19. That's up from 72,877 cases a little more than two weeks ago on April 5.

In the zero to nine age group, we've gone from 21,596 cases to 28,648 over the same time period.

That's nearly an 8 percent increase in both age groups. Nationally, there's been a 5 percent increase. Pennsylvania, Main, Vermont, and Puerto Rico are also seeing spikes in the number of cases among children.

Why is the disease spreading so rapidly among children?

One of the reasons is the prevalence of the B.1.1.7. variant in Michigan, according to Dr. Marisa Louie, the medical director for children's emergency services at Michigan Medicine. This particular form of the disease is more contagious and that leads to increased transmission among other children and to other family members.

This Interactive Map Shows Where COVID-19 Variants Are Spreading in Michigan

Another reason is that children under the age of 16 are not eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We’ve certainly have been seeing far more COVID in children lately," Dr. Louie tells WXYZ. “We’re seeing a fair amount of transmission now amongst kids ages 10 and up. But really the entire age of 10 to 15 and lower than that is not eligible for the vaccine."

 

What can parents do to protect their children?

Besides taking precautions such as mask and social distancing, parents are encouraged to monitor school-related outbreaks in their districts. New cases reported by districts are reported on this website, but it should be pointed out that case counts are only for the last 28 days and are not cumulative.

Privacy laws prohibit school districts from disclosing specific data about students who are absent or who may have been shown symptoms of COVID-19. Many schools do, however, provide information on their websites regarding the number of students and/or staff members who have been quarantined.

 

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