Arizona is one of the states with the most COVID-19 cases among kids

May 5, 2021, 4:55 AM | Updated: 8:36 am
(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona is one of the states with the most COVID-19 cases among children, and the state’s top health expert doesn’t believe schools are to blame for that.

New data by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows Arizona is one of 16 states with more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases among children. It’s also one of only 10 states with more than 7,000 cases per 100,000 kids.

“What we’ve seen here in Arizona is it’s not so much transmission in the classroom that’s the primary mechanism,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, recently said. “It’s the after-school and extracurricular activities as well as family gatherings or parties outside of school.”

She stressed schools are “one of the best and safest places to be.” She recommended students continue to wear a mask in school – even though it’s no longer a state requirement – and that they wash their hands often.

“We don’t see a lot of transmission inside the classroom, and that’s because our school districts have done such a great job in implementing those COVID-19 strategies,” Christ said.

There were 139,525 cases of COVID-19 among Arizonans younger than 19 years old as of last Thursday, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. They made up 16.2% of all positive cases in Arizona.

Christ said she hopes vaccinating younger kids will help reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases among that population.

The minimum age to receive the COVID-19 vaccine is 16 for Pfizer and 18 for other approved versions. No vaccine has been approved for anyone younger than 16, but that could soon change.

Federal health officials are poised to authorize the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds. Moderna is also testing its COVID-19 vaccine on children as young as 6 months old.

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Arizona is one of the states with the most COVID-19 cases among kids