Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics released a state data report on Children and COVID-19. The report highlights Arizona as one of eight states with the highest number of  cumulative cases of COVID-19 in children. As the report acknowledges, one significant limitation of the data is how each state defines a ‘child.’ Arizona is one of many states that broadly defines ‘child’ as a person less than 20 years old, where other states narrowly define it as less than 14,17, or 18 years old. In addition, according to the report, Arizona is one of only nine states that report laboratory tests by age.

As of Sept. 3, 2020, 25,675 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Arizonans less than age 20. Thirty percent of these cases are between 18 and 19 years old. Based on current data, about 1.5% of Arizonans younger than 20 have been reported with COVID-19.

Our ADHS public health experts are always examining different demographic groups to determine if a disease is disproportionately impacting a specific group. For example, while kids under 18 make up approximately 20-25% of Arizona’s population, they account for only 9% of the reported cases. In contrast, our Native American population accounts for 6% of the total cases, and 11% of all COVID-19 deaths, while they account for only 2% of the state’s population. Using our data allows us to identify and rapidly target interventions for our populations that are adversely impacted.

Testing also plays a role in this analysis. Arizona healthcare providers have done a good job during the pandemic of testing our younger population. About 12% of all people tested were Arizonans under age 20. Similarly, about 12% of all reported cases are in Arizonans under age 20.

Even though children under the age of 18 make up only 9% of all cases with known ages reported in Arizona, it’s important to continue to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our youngest residents. As schools begin to reopen to in-person learning, now is an opportune time to teach and model for our children preventative measures they can take to protect themselves and their classmates.

Preventative measures for COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose with unwashed hands.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
  • Stay at home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve and immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wear masks in public settings, including at school.

To learn more about Arizona COVID-19 cases, visit the ADHS COVID-19 Dashboard.