As Schools Reopen, At Least 97,000 Children Test Positive for COVID-19 in Late July

With millions of American children soon returning to school, a new study shows that at least 97,000 kids were infected with COVID-19 during the last two weeks of July.

According to the new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, at least 338,000 U.S. children had tested positive through July 30, The New York Times reported. That means that more than a quarter of those cases had come up positive in the second half of July alone.

Already, some schools have tried to reopen and then had to order quarantines or close after COVID-19 cases were reported among students and staff, the Times reported. North Paulding High School in Georgia, which gained national attention last week after videos of crowded hallways made their way onto social media, announced Sunday it would switch to online instruction for Monday and Tuesday after at least nine coronavirus cases were reported there.

In the new report, states in the South and West accounted for more than 7 of 10 infections. The count could be higher because the report did not include complete data from Texas and parts of New York State outside of New York City.

Missouri, Oklahoma, Alaska, Nevada, Idaho and Montana were among the states with the highest percentage increase of child infections during that period, the report found.

There were differences in how states classified children: Most places cited in the report considered children to be no older than 17 or 19. But in Alabama, the age limit was 24, while it was only 14 in Florida and Utah, the Times reported.

Though public health officials say that most children do not get severe illness, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a new, more dangerous COVID-19 condition known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children has struck children of color far more often than whites. From early March through late July, the CDC received reports of 570 young people — ranging from infants to age 20 with the condition, the Times reported. Of those, 40 percent were Hispanic or Latino, 33 percent were Black and 13 percent were white. Ten died and nearly two-thirds were admitted to intensive care units, the report found.