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Douglas County News | National News | Statewide News | 06/29/21

COVID-19 is one of the top 10 causes of death in children in 2020

Lauren Jackson, WBRC

COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalizations are down across the state, but health officials said they are still seeing younger ages being hospitalized with the virus.

Officials with Children’s of Alabama said in 2020, the virus was one of the top 10 leading causes of death in children.

“COVID is the tenth leading cause of death for children in the United States,” Dr. David Kimberlin with Children’s of Alabama said. “It is among most common causes of death in children and adolescents.”

Kimberlin said most COVID deaths are in older age groups, but that doesn’t mean children won’t get extremely sick.

“There are still some hospitalized children right now at Children’s Hospital,” he said. “The best way to get back to school, the best way to start seeing their friends, the best way to be able to go to summer camp and not be concerned, is to be vaccinated.”

He said vaccinations in the 12 and up age groups are helping case numbers trend downwards, but variant strains and new mask recommendations could change that.

“If everyone just thinks they can take their masks off whether or not they are vaccinated, and we’ve got the variants out there, it is quite possible that cases will start going up again even though adolescents can now be immunized themselves,” Kimberlin said.

Kimberlin said it is important that children who are not authorized for a vaccine yet continue wearing their masks to keep cases going in the right direction.

“If you are not vaccinated, and that is about two-thirds of our state right now, you should still be wearing a mask,” Kimberlin said.

Dr. Kimberlin said trials show that children under 12 will likely be able to get vaccinated early in the fall.