Jan 13, 2022 - COVID

Kids lead the pack for Chicago's COVID-19 cases

People stand in line for COVID testing

Residents line up for COVID-19 testing at Pritzker College Prep high school. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Children under 17 years old make up 23% of current Chicago COVID cases and lead all age groups, according to daily average case counts on from the Chicago health department.

Why it matters: Hundreds of thousands of kids under 17 returned to school buildings this week where children eat together maskless, the majority of students are unvaccinated and, critics charge, safety mitigations are inconsistently enforced.

By the numbers: We analyzed the current stats to find which groups lead these categories:

  • Highest COVID rates: White Chicagoans (30% of all cases where race is known), females (55%) and people 0-17 years old (23%).
  • Highest hospitalizations: Black Chicagoans (53%), women (55%) and people ages 60-69 (18%).
  • Most deaths: Black Chicagoans (44%), women (51%) and those over 80 (36%).
  • Highest full vaccination rates: Asian-American Chicagoans (73%), women (67%) 50-59 year olds (86%).

Biggest risk for severe outcomes: Lack of vaccination. Chicago's unvaccinated account for twice as many COVID cases and six times as many hospitalizations as those who are vaccinated and boosted.

More testing: The department of health has added a new SHIELD testing center at the Federal Courthouse that uses a U of I-developed saliva test rather than nasal swabs.


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