Aug 17, 2022 - COVID

71% of California kids have had COVID-19

Illustration of a stack of wooden toy blocks showing a syringe, a COVID cell and a cotton swab.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

About 71% of kids in California between the ages of 6 months and 17 years have been infected with COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, compared to about 80% of kids nationwide, according to recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The latest BA.5 subvariant of Omicron is now the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the U.S., and it's the most transmissible we've seen since the start of the pandemic, Axios' Tina Reed writes.

  • It can break through vaccines and evade antibodies from prior Omicron infections.
  • While studies suggest long COVID is rarer in children, they are still at risk of developing it.
  • As the public school year starts for the San Francisco Unified School District's roughly 49,000 students, there's potential for COVID hotspots to emerge.

Yes, but: An estimated 73% of kids in San Francisco have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the city's COVID dashboard, offering some protection against the virus.

What we're watching: How the school year affects COVID-19 cases among students.

What's next: SFUSD plans to transition from providing take-home molecular test kits at schools to offering rapid antigen tests.

  • The school district will distribute antigen tests the week of Aug. 22.
  • Masks are recommended but not required inside schools.
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