Fewer than 500 children have died of COVID-19 since figures were first recorded in May 2020, the CDC said, a figure exponentially outnumbered by children killed in drownings, gun-violence incidents, and other fatal injuries.

A total of 498 children had been killed by COVID up to the week ending September 23, which are the most recent CDC figures available. Most children in the US die as a result of various accidents, including car crashes, drowning, and from being shot, the CDC says.

A total of 3,343 children 19 and under lost their lives in traffic accidents in 2019, while there is an estimate of almost 4,000 children dying of fatal accidental drownings every year.

Poisoning accidents kill 730 children every year in the country. Seventy-nine children 19 and under died due to bike-related accidents.

The agency reports that more than 12,000 children die every year due to injuries including drownings, falls, burns, and road traffic injuries. That equates to around 33 children a day.  

Childhood COVID deaths, pictured in red, have totaled 498 since May 2020. The other causes of childhood death in this chart are figures for a single year

Childhood COVID deaths, pictured in red, have totaled 498 since May 2020. The other causes of childhood death in this chart are figures for a single year  

Perhaps one of the causes of deaths in children that has spiked the most over the last decade is gun violence. According to the Defense Fund's 2021 report, an average of 3,285 children and teenagers are killed every year by guns. 

Although not factored in to the COVID death statistics, suicides among children have also increased since the pandemic hit US shores.  

In 2019, 534 children committed suicide, a number that increased alarmingly during lockdown. According to a May 2020 report from the CDC, emergency rooms across the country experienced a rise of almost 50 percent in suspected suicide attempts in teenage girls aged 12 to 17, amid fears isolation was destroying youngsters' mental health. 

According to health officials, the relatively low COVID-19 mortality rate in children can be explained by the fact that young and healthy people tend to experience less threatening symptoms than adults with underlying conditions.

Other measures like good ventilation, mask use, and social distancing in schools have been proved to further curb the spread of COVID-19, subsequently decreasing potential deaths.

The figures came amid pushes for vaccine mandates in schools, with California ordering all schoolchildren aged 12 and up to take the shot if they wish to attend in-person classes.

It has become the first state to do so.  

Although the CDC has given approval to the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and up, many parents are still holding off from vaccinating their kids.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was recently accused of implementing a 'paternalistic,' and overreaching school vaccine mandate, as just 35 children are said to have died of COVID-19 in his state since the pandemic started.

Newsom announced on Friday that all school children in the state were going to be required to get the vaccine if they intended to attend classes in person, with no testing alternative. California is the first state to do so.

'We don't want to see even a single child die, but when you look at the numbers of deaths of children that have occurred as a result of other causes, you have many causes such as motor vehicle accidents, accidental injuries from bicycle accidents, drownings, poisonings, suicides, drug overdoses, homicides by gunshots- all exceeding this by an order of magnitude or greater,' Dr Houman Hemmati told FOX

Parents had an array of reactions to Newsom's order. While some supported the measure and believed it would help avoid constant closings and switching to remote learning, others contended that it would leave parents who did not want to vaccinate their kids with no autonomy.

According to the California Department of Public Health, 55percent of teenagers ages 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated in the state.

Most parents support mask mandates in schools but don't believe children should be required to get COVID-19 shots.

COVID shots have been linked to rare but potentially serious cases of heart inflammation, with teenage boys and young men particularly at risk. 

A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), found that six in 10 parents agree that unvaccinated students and teachers should wear face coverings in the classroom.

However, roughly the same share of mothers and fathers say they don't think school administrators should mandate vaccines.

Sixty-three percent of parents of children believe unvaccinated students and staff should be required to wear a mask while 36 percent oppose. But 58 percent of mothers and fathers of 12-to-17-year-olds don't want schools to require children to get vaccinated while 42percent support it.

Vaccine and masks mandates issued by the state and federal governments have sparked a national debate on whether doing so constitutes governmental overreach and meddling, but with different undertones.

Democratic states like California have pushed to increase vaccination rates and mask use, while Republican states have notoriously dismissed CDC advice and opposed mask and vaccine mandates.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has led a relentless fight against judges to keep his ban on school mask mandates. He has repeatedly appealed court rulings and withheld money from school districts that continue to enforce masks.

DeSantis's legal battle with the state's school districts has triggered confrontations between pro-mask school workers and parents as well as students who are opposed to masks. 

As of September 15, the ban was still in order.

And as policies to control the spread of COVID become more aggressive, so do arguments for a federal vaccine mandate.

The airline industry, the US military, high-profile hospitals, and US universities have also been criticized for issuing vaccine requirements. 

Companies such as Google, Netflix, and Facebook have also issued companywide vaccine mandates, have joined the trend after the Pfizer vaccine was given full approval on August 23.

Children and long COVID  

Very few children and teenagers infected with COVID-19 have long-term symptoms, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, looked at more than 5,000 under-18s who contracted the virus.

They found that fewer than one in 10 children were battling so-called 'long Covid' three to five months after first testing positive.

Only 15 percent developed symptoms at any point during their infections, with most seeing symptoms disappear within 30 days.

The team says that the findings suggest long Covid is not as much of a concern among minors as it is among adults.

Long Covid appears in patients that have recovered from the virus and continue exhibiting symptoms for weeks, or potentially months or years, after clearing the infection.

There are a wide-array of symptoms that can appear, including continued loss of taste and smell, long-term fatigue and long-term sensory issues.

The causes of the condition remain unknown and several studies are being conducted to examine long-term effects.

Some theories of what causes long Covid include patients having persistently low levels of the virus or damage that COVID-19 causes to nerve pathways.

A recent joint study between the UK and the U.S. found that about one-third of patients will experience long Covid.

However, estimates for children are much lower.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr Rochelle Walensky has previously estimated between two percent and three percent of children suffer from long Covid.

Most children who contract COVID-19 either have mild cases or are asymptomatic, not tending to get seriously ill or to die.

For the new study, published on pre-print server medRxiv.org, the team looked at 5,058 children and teenagers between ages five and 18.

All contracted Covid and were treated two unnamed New England health systems between March 2020 and April 2021.

The participants were followed up with monthly and up to five months after their first positive tests.

During the acute period of infection, between 14 and 30 days after first falling ill, 14.8 percent experienced symptoms.

This percentage fell to just 7.2 percent experiencing long-term symptoms more than three months later.

The most common symptoms were headache and anxiety, each with 2.4 percent of patients reporting these conditions.

Rounding out the top five were cognition (2.3 percent), fatigue (1.1 percent) and sleep problems (0.6 percent).

Older children, girls and Hispanics tended to be most likely to experience long-term symptoms, and researchers say more studies need to be conducted to determine why this is the case.

'As far as long Covid, our study suggests the risk for children is lower than some prior studies might have suggested,' co-author Dr Roy Perlis, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, told UPI.

'I hope we can reassure parents somewhat about the risk of long Covid being low.'

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