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The Kids Are Not All Right, but They Will Be

October 1, 2021  ||  Matt Albasi

Line chart showing the levels of illness in the us have been roughly the same since mid-september

Don’t Be Surprised if You Get Sick

Kinsa data shows that despite COVID-19 cases decreasing, the U.S. has recorded the same level of fevers for the last two weeks. This stable level of illness is likely due to several factors: 

  • regional divergence of COVID trends, with some heavily populated areas getting better while other regions are getting worse or staying the same. 

  • With the historically low 2020-21 illness season (aside from COVID, few other contagious illnesses were circulating), we may be experiencing “waning immunity” to common illnesses. Without exposure to common viruses, we are now more susceptible to common illnesses. 

Charts of regional illness levels showing levels in the Northeast increasing

Recovery for Much of the South Slows as New England Accelerates

Speaking of regional divergence of COVID trends: Fevers in the northeast, from New York to Maine, accelerated this week, accompanied by increased COVID-19 cases in Maine and New Hampshire. In the Mid-Atlantic region, illness levels continue to steadily rise, as they have for most of the summer.

Meanwhile, the increases in the Midwest and Mountain West appears to have leveled off after slowly rising over most of the summer. Southern regions hit the hardest by the Delta variant have had decreasing levels of illness for most of the month, though the rate of decrease slowed for much of this week.

The Kids Are Not All Right, but They Will Be

To the relief of many parents, Pfizer-BioNTech announced last week that a lower dose of their vaccine is safe and effective for use in children aged 5 to 11 years old. The announcement paves the way for younger children to get immunized after the FDA reviews the data. If past rounds of approval are an indication of turnaround time, emergency use authorization could come as soon as the end of October.

The good news is welcome as reports of childhood COVID cases increase — According to the most recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children represented more than one in four COVID cases last week. This statistic is well above average — throughout the pandemic, children have represented only about 16% of all cases. Thankfully, severe illness and death remain rare in pediatric cases.

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