ATLANTA, Georgia: As Covid-19 cases again increase in states such as Michigan and Minnesota, officials have voiced concern about children transmitting the disease during summer sports this year.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted the increase in coronavirus cases in Michigan and Minnesota. "In both of these states, there is concern about transmission in youth sports - both club sports as well as sports affiliated in schools," Walensky said, as reported by yahoonews.com.
Coronavirus infection rates are at a record high among those ages 19 and younger in Michigan, being four-times what they were just one month ago.
"We have enough data to show that when schools keep at least 3 feet of distance [between students], making sure children are wearing masks, making sure that we have handwashing stations, that those are settings that are incredibly safe," said Dr. Kavita Patel, a primary care physician in Washington, DC. and a member of the Brookings Institution.
Patel said attending organized youth sports, summer camps and other social and recreational activities could put young people at high risk for contracting the coronavirus.
Patel pointed to other reasons for the increase in cases among children and teens.
"We know that the variants, especially B.1.1.7, is more infectious, and it's more dominant across the U.S. So you would imagine that it's just going to infect everybody at a higher rate, especially those who are unvaccinated," she said.
While a vaccine for people younger than 16 has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Pfizer has submitted a request to make available its vaccine in children ages 12 to15 years. Pfizer says its research showed its vaccine was 100 percent effective in this age group.
"Because the majority of older adults are being immunized, we are seeing these variants going into bodies that are not immunized, and that's younger children." Patel added.
Patel said it's highly likely that children were asymptomatic carriers of coronavirus. "We certainly know this to be the case for children over the age of 12. ... At younger ages, we had evidence that children under the age of 12 had high loads of the virus in their nose, even without symptoms."
Patel noted that this is why Americans must continue to wear masks outside their homes, even if fully vaccinated.