CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Editor's note: The video above aired Sept. 17, 2021.
The latest wave of COVID-19 cases is also bringing new cases to children.
A WCNC Charlotte analysis of North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 data shows more children aged 0 to 17 tested positive for coronavirus during the week of Aug. 29 than at any point during the pandemic.
During the week of Sept. 12, 9,584 children tested positive. That number is more than the number of children's cases in all of June and July.
COVID-19 cases are rising in North Carolina generally. Last week, there were 32,875 newly reported COVID-19 cases.
The latest surge in cases is being spurred by the delta variant, which is the dominant strain of the virus in the Carolinas and across the country.
Below is a WCNC Charlotte visualization showing how children are accounting for a larger proportion of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina counties surrounding Charlotte. Detailed age data from South Carolina schools was not available.
The surge in cases among children raises concern with children now back in the classroom.
The delta variant is spreading more rapidly in kids. However, so far no data shows that it will cause more severe infections.
"We're seeing greater spread to children. And so we're seeing more cases with the delta variant than we were seeing with the alpha variant," Dr. Michael Osterholm, epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy said. “There is no question we're going to see outbreaks in schools with this delta variant. “The question is how many and how big will they get."
After initially making masks optional, several school districts have now reversed their plans and are now requiring masks.
As of Tuesday, five Charlotte-area school districts are requiring masks including Mecklenburg, Stanly, Anson, Richmond and Watauga counties. Avery County schools has yet to decide on masking.
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