BANGOR, Maine (WABI) -Maine CDC director Nirav Shah says around 9% of the state’s COVID cases have been in children age 19 and younger, aligning closely with the national average.
As of Tuesday kids accounted for 371 cases in our state.
But as schools reopen, that number may be on the rise.
We spoke with Jonathan Wood, Senior Lead Physician for Pediatrics at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.
“It’s a small number of the total nationally. It’s a small number of the small number here.”
A recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that in the last four weeks cases in children have jumped by 90% nationwide.
“It’s pretty clear that kids who get it are less sick. It doesn’t mean kids can’t get severely ill because they can.”
Kids 17 and under are 20 times less likely than adults to be hospitalized but with some schools planning to reopen with in-person learning, Dr. Wood advises caution.
“Obviously it’s important that kids are in school and it’s important that children have socialization opportunities. It’s also important that kids not get sick. Finding that balance… if I had the answer I’d probably win a prize or something.”
He says the CDC guidelines should be taken seriously.
“The recommendations that are out there are solid. i’m only frustrated personally by hearing people that want to minimize this.”
He also reiterated that masks work and that children are capable of wearing them.
“I took care of a just barely two-year-old who had their mask on. A lovely little mask, Harry Potter, the whole deal. It was great, it was amazing. I complimented both parents about that because they socialized him to that early on even when they were in the house.”
Dr. Wood says as more studies are done, recommendations may change.
“The answer for now is to be smart and pay attention to the science.”
Dr. Wood recommended the American Academy of Pediatrics as a good place for more information for parents.
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