A temperature check is taken as students return to St. Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on November 16, 2020. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
Children make up a small percentage of the overall COVID-19 death toll in the US, but the majority of the adolescents who have died from the virus so far were children of color.
As of February 11, 241 kids died from COVID-19, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 75% of COVID-19 deaths among children were kids of color.
The CDC study looked at 121 deaths among children between February and July 2020 and found that 45% were Hispanic, 29% were Black, and 4% were non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native.
The death rate among children of color is higher than the death rate of adults of color compared to their white counterparts. Adults of color are more than twice as likely to die from the coronavirus.
NPR reported that similar to adults, underlying conditions like asthma, obesity, and cardiac issues are a risk factor for children to develop severe illness.
Altogether, there have been more than 3 million coronavirus cases among kids, about 13% of the overall number of cases in the US.
However, while many kids who died from coronavirus complications end up in the hospital, many have died at home or in the emergency room, NPR reported.
Tagan, 5, fell sick in October and her mother Lastassija White took her to the hospital after she woke up vomiting in the middle of the night, The Washington Post reported. Doctors at Northwest Texas Healthcare System hospital sent her home and told her to isolate after she tested positive for coronavirus. That night, White found her unresponsive.
Kimora “Kimmie” Lynum was 9 when she died from COVID-19 and no one knew she had the virus until after she died, the Post reported.
Lynum told her mother that she had a stomachache one day in July and after her temperature shot up to 103, she was rushed to the hospital where doctors did not test her for the coronavirus and sent her home. She seemed to be doing better and playing but six days later she took a nap and was later found unresponsive.
Several factors, including underlying conditions and multisystem inflammatory syndrome – a very rare post-inflammatory condition that impacts kids weeks after a coronavirus infection – could lead to death, the Post reported.
Another factor was simply a lack of awareness at the start of the pandemic that kids could be severely impacted by the virus. Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan told NPR: “for a long time, it was believed that children didn’t die from this.”
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