Your kid (probably) had COVID-19
Almost 83% of Ohio kids between 6 months and 17 years old have been infected with COVID-19, per recent estimates from the CDC.
- That's slightly higher than the national average of just under 80%.
Why it matters: More kids have some natural immunity to the virus than had been reported.
- The CDC's percentage represents more than 2 million children — significantly higher than the 447,000 cases on the Ohio Department of Health's dashboard.
How it works: The CDC partners with laboratories to regularly test unvaccinated pediatric patients' blood for COVID antibodies. They most recently tested 655 Ohioans in May and June.
- Last fall, just 42.5% of Ohio kids and 38% nationwide had antibodies.
The big picture: The latest BA.5 Omicron subvariant is now the dominant COVID strain in the U.S. and the most transmissible one we've seen. It's capable of breaking through vaccines and evading antibodies from prior infections, Axios' Tina Reed writes.
- Vaccines help keep symptoms as mild as possible, though, and greatly reduce the risk of hospitalization.
By the numbers: Children remain Ohio's least-vaccinated age group. Only 46% of kids ages 12-17, 25% ages 5-11 and 1% ages 0-4 have received both shots, per the state's dashboard.
What we're watching: With all Central Ohio students back in classrooms this week without mandates for masks or social distancing, there's still potential for COVID hotspots to emerge and disrupt another school year.
- Unlike the past two years, the state isn't requiring schools to report cases among students or staff, so trends may be harder to track.
Of note: Though kids generally don't experience severe symptoms, researchers need more age-specific data so they can better assess long-term COVID impacts, per the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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