In Mississippi, COVID-19 cases in children may be significantly higher than reported, CDC finds

About 16.3 percent of young people in Mississippi may have been infected with COVID-19 by mid-September of last year, according to the CDC's latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report published March 5. 

In partnership with the CDC, researchers from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and the state health department collected blood specimens from 1,603 children under age 18 and conducted antibody testing between May 17 and Sept. 19. Of those samples, 175 were positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Infection rates among Black and Hispanic children were 2.4 and 4.3 times higher, respectively, compared to the rate among white children, the report said. 

Based on the antibody testing, researchers estimated that COVID-19 cases increased from 2.5 percent in May to 16.3 percent by mid-September. That translates to 113,842 children who may have had COVID-19 by mid-September, while the actual number of confirmed and positive cases around that time was 8,993. 

"Compared with seroprevalence data from older age groups in Mississippi, data from this study sample suggests that cumulative infection rates by mid-September among persons aged <18 years were similar to those among persons aged 18-49," the report said. "Including pediatric age groups in serosurveys can help track the spread of SARS-CoV-2 among young persons in the United States." 

To view the full report, click here.

More articles on public health:
Why COVID Tracking Project will stop reporting data March 7
COVID-19 hospitalizations by state: March 5
Researchers find link between COVID-19, Type A blood


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