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Dane County data shows climbing Covid cases in younger population

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:48 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -Recent data shows a rise in coronavirus cases in Dane County is tied to children 17 and younger.

In the past two weeks, 114 children aged 12 to 17 tested positive for the virus, compared to 70 in the two weeks prior.

In the 8 to 11 age group, 39 children tested positive in the past two weeks, compared to 23 in the two weeks prior, nearly doubling the cases.

Health officials said the virus is impacting the younger age group at a higher rate now, compared to the start of the pandemic.

“One of the reasons I wanted to fight this virus as hard as we have was to get them back to some sense of normalcy,” Dr. William Hartman, UW-Health Astrazeneca covid vaccine trial principal investigator said.

Hartman spent the last year combing through ways to combat the coronavirus. He said seeing his 16 and 17 year old sons get a covid shot made the long hours of research worth it.

“It was emotional,” he said. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for them so that they can have a prom and they can have a graduation.”

Hartman said the growing number of Covid cases in age groups 17 and younger is a new trend and he’s glad his teenagers are protected.

“This B.1.1.7 variants, which is also known as the UK variant, tends to be more contagious especially in younger people,” he said.

More kids are back on the field for sports and schools are reopening. Hartman said these factors could contribute to the climbing cases.

“The fact that there are kids getting closer together, there’s more opportunity for the virus to spread,” he said.

Hartman said this underscores the importance of younger age groups getting the shot explaining it’s a crucial step to achieving herd immunity.

“I think as we do the whole group of kids under 18, that’s a game changer,” he said.

Pfizer applied for emergency use authorization of its shot in kids as young as 12 The FDA is expected to take some time to review all of the data and make a decision.

The company said its vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing Covid in that age group.

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