Parents of Hispanic and Black children may be more cautious when it comes to sending their children back to school during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as they are significantly more likely to be hospitalized when getting sick with the coronavirus than White children, according to a new study by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

The CDC study, which was released on August 7, found that Hispanic children were eight times more likely to be hospitalized than White children, while Black children were hospitalized at a rate of five times more than those who were White. In addition, a second study found that a rare inflammatory syndrome in children known as MIS-C, is also more prevalent among minority children, with 570 noted cases showing that 40% occurred in children identified as Hispanic and 33% occurred in children who were Black.

However, it was also noted that most cases of pediatric COVID-19 are asymptomatic or mild, and the hospitalization rates for all children is significantly lower than the rate for adults, with 8 children hospitalized out of every 100,000, while 164.5 adults out of every 100,000 were hospitalized.

The data, compiled from 14 states, also found that 42% of children studied did suffer from underlying medical conditions like obesity, which affects one in five US children and is more common in minority populations as well.

The findings were released as authorities in all states are finalizing plans for schools to reopen across the country, as a battle continues to ensue between the federal government, which is pushing for a full reopening of the system, and teachers unions and disease experts, who fear hastily planned reopenings will lead to a spike in new infections. However, the study stated that its findings mainly meant that prevention efforts, such as mask-wearing and frequent hand-washing, should be used in those settings.

“Continued tracking of Sars-CoV-2 infections among children is important to characterize morbidity and mortality,” it said. “Reinforcement of prevention efforts is essential in congregate settings that serve children, including childcare centers and schools.”

Among the states which have approved schools to reopen in the Fall are the ones which comprise the entire New York State system, which Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the same day as the study. New York, which was once the epicenter for the virus in the United States has since seen a large decline in numbers of new cases and has kept positivity rates through the state mostly around 1%. However, should cases climb to 5% positivity, schools would be shut down again.

classroom The days of crowded classrooms are over for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Michael Anderson/National Cancer Institute