NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Many New Mexico kids are back in the classroom. And there’s growing concern and questions as the Delta variant surges across the state. But, CDC data suggests a lot of kids may have already had the virus.
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The CDC estimates way more children have had COVID than we know through confirmed cases. New Mexico doctors said that could be the case here too. “Are there a lot more kids who were infected who didn’t have a COVID test…that test wasn’t reported, and we didn’t report it out? Absolutely,” said Dr. Christine Ross, an epidemiologist with the New Mexico Department of Health, at a press conference on Wednesday.
The CDC estimates by the end of May, nearly 27 million kids 0-17 in the U.S. had COVID. That’s roughly seven times more than what was reported through case counts and also before the Delta variant took hold across the country.
In a press conference on Wednesday, state doctors say they estimate fewer kids in the state have contracted COVID that went unreported. They said for every positive COVID-19 case in a child, there may be about four cases that were not recorded.
“So kids may have had the milder disease, so their parents didn’t take them to get a test, so even though we did do a great job with testing…as compared to other states we still tested kids at much lower rates than adults, much much lower rates. And we certainly know that we weren’t able to pick up every single infection among children,” said Dr. Ross.
According to state data, New Mexicans 0-19 make up about 20% of the state’s COVID-19 cases. State health officials said New Mexico did more COVID testing than some other states. While the Delta variant is more contagious, on Wednesday, New Mexico doctors told reporters there is no evidence to suggest the variant is more dangerous to kids than adults.