Medical personnel move corpses from Wyckoff Heights Medical Center to a refrigerated truck on April 2, 2020 in Brooklyn, New York.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Covid-19 has killed at least 121 people under the age of 21 across the United States, nearly two-thirds of whom were black and Hispanic, a new study published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The investigation comes days after reports surfaced that Trump administration officials disrupted the CDC̵
The researchers, who include a number of CDC staff and officials from nearly 30 state health departments, said the study underscores the risk that Covid-19 poses to young people, even though young people typically do not get as ill as elderly coronavirus patients. They added that the data should be continuously monitored when schools and childcare centers are reopened.
“Although infants, children, and adolescents are more likely to have milder COVID-19 disease than adults, complications, including MIS-C and respiratory failure, occur in these populations,” the researchers wrote. MIS-C refers to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, which is a rare but serious condition that appears to be associated with Covid-19.
“Continuous evaluation of the effectiveness of prevention and control strategies will also be important in informing public health guidance for schools and parents and other carers,” the researchers added.
Among the 121 young people who died from Covid-19, 45% were Hispanic and 29% were black, the study said. About 4% were Indians from Native Americans or Alaska, the study added. In total, the groups represent 41% of the U.S. population, the researchers say, but account for more than 75% of Covid-19 deaths among people under 21 years of age.
“Among infants, children, and adolescents admitted to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and cases of MIS-C, individuals from racial and ethnic minority groups are overrepresented,” the researchers wrote.
The researchers added that 75% of the 121 people who died had at least one underlying medical condition, and the most commonly reported conditions were chronic lung disease such as asthma, obesity, neurological conditions and cardiovascular conditions.
Of the reported deaths, 10% among people were younger than one year, 20% of the deaths were between 1 and 9 years old, and the remaining 70% occurred in those between 10 and 20 years old, according to the Study. Nearly half of the deaths occurred in people who were 18 to 20 years old, the study said. The researchers said the median age of the 121 people who died was 16.
The researchers collected data from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands from February 12 to July 31. They noted a few limitations in the study. The researchers said it is possible that not all deaths were reported due to limited testing and reporting standards. They added that the CDC was unable to obtain death certificates to verify the cause of death and that there may be no standard reporting across jurisdictions.
And the researchers noted that for most of the study time, schools and childcare centers were closed and children were not frequently tested, which limited the scope of the data.
The investigation comes in terms of allegations of political interference within the CDC. Politico and other outlets reported last week that Trump allies, who were named to the Department of Health and Human Services, pressured the CDC to change reports published in weekly reports on morbidity and mortality.
Politico quoted emails showing an HHS official criticizing CDC researchers’ decision to classify people between the ages of 18 and 20 as pediatricians. The official, Paul Alexander, said the decision was “misleading.”