E&C Chairs Request CDC Briefing on the Effects of COVID-19 Among Children and Young People
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairwoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Diana DeGette (D-CO) wrote to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. today requesting a briefing on the concerning impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s children and young people.
“As the school year begins across the country and families look to public health leaders for guidance on how best to protect their children, there remain too many questions about the role youth play in the transmission of COVID-19, the risk they face from the disease, and the consequences of the pandemic on their health and well-being,” the Democratic Committee leaders wrote to Director Redfield.
According to CDC data, more than 270,000 youth are known to have acquired COVID-19 and at least 77 young people have died from the virus. Additionally, a new joint report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found a recent 40 percent increase in new child cases — more than 97,000 children were confirmed to have COVID-19 during the last two weeks of July.
The Committee leaders raised concern over reports of children diagnosed with COVID-19 developing not only respiratory symptoms, but also a severe inflammatory syndrome characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels leading to limited blood flow, and subsequent heart, kidney or other organ damage. CDC found that children of color have been disproportionately affected by this syndrome, with Black and Hispanic children accounting for an alarming 73.6 percent of reported cases in the United States.
“Beyond the direct effects of the virus on children and adolescents, the pandemic is likely to have broader harmful impacts on young people’s health and well-being regardless of whether or not they acquire the disease,” Pallone, Eshoo and DeGette continued. “As a result of COVID-19 social mitigation efforts, for instance, vaccination coverage has declined among children posing increased risks for the spread of other infectious diseases. Additionally, youth staying home for extended periods has led to increased reports of behavioral health problems and rates of abuse.”
Citing the alarming signs of both immediate and future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical, mental and behavioral, and social health of children and young people, the Committee leaders requested a briefing within the next two weeks.
“Given the evolving scientific knowledge about COVID-19, we request a briefing on what is known about the effects of COVID-19 infection and transmission among children and young people, its related health impacts, and future challenges and threats to the health and well-being of the nation’s youth, as well as the steps the Administration is taking to address these issues,” the Committee leaders concluded. “We request that this briefing take place by August 25, 2020.”
To read the full letter, click HERE.