Kids and COVID: Numbers on the rise

Ohio’s Children’s Hospitals reported Tuesday that they are seeing a COVID surge among kids, much worse than at any time since the beginning of the pandemic.

>> ‘Every single county is red hot,’ DeWine, Children’s Hospital leaders plea for masks in schools

Hospital leaders held a one-hour conference call with school superintendents statewide to urge them to require all students to wear a mask while they are in the classroom.

The request came with new data that points to the severity of the problem.

The data was released by Gov. Mike DeWine following a late afternoon briefing with reporters:

  • There have been 29,823 Ohio school-aged kids ages 5 to 17 since August 15 with confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19.
  • COVID cases among kids have jumped by 198 percent in recent weeks.
  • Cases among kids nationwide have increase 240 percent nationwide since July, but in Ohio it has gone up by 2000 percent as the Delta variant spread across the state.
  • In a two-week period in early September, cases among kids were 909 per 100,000 ... much higher than 564 per 100,000 in the remainder of the population.
  • Schools with no masking saw a 54 percent increase in cases recently, far above than the 34 percent increase for schools that had some or all students masked-up.

A noticeably frustrated Gov. Mike DeWine said during his briefing that restrictions from the General Assembly prevent him from putting on a statewide mask order.

“If I could put on a statewide mandate, if the health department could do it, we would do it. What the Legislature has made very clear is that if we put on a statewide mandate, they will take it off. They will have the ability to do that. There is no thirty-day waiting period. They will do that right away,” DeWine said.

>> Dayton City Commission to vote on indoor mask mandate Wednesday

Some critics, including Democratic candidate for Governor, Nan Whaley, have urged DeWine to issue the mandate anyway and challenge the constitutionality of SB22, the law that put restrictions on health orders.

DeWine said Tuesday that would only lead to more confusion and potentially take the state “back a step” in reaching its original goal of keeping kids in the classroom.