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Doctors express concern about increased pediatric coronavirus cases
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Pediatrician performs back to school physical in Hinds County (August)
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Coronavirus transmission in Mississippi is surging, and cases are also going up in children. Pediatricians are urging parents to take steps to help slow the spread of the virus.

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Coronavirus cases among children and teens in Mississippi are on the rise, and across the nation, cases have doubled in one month. More than 19 thousand children in Mississippi, age 17 and younger, have contracted COVID-19. And while most children are asymptomatic, Mississippi’s Health Department is reporting that two have died from the virus. Dr. Anita Henderson is with the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“Children generally don’t see those severe outcomes, but we really don’t know what the long term complications of coronavirus could be on children or on adults. And again, children will spread the virus, they do not live in a bubble. They have parents that have to take care of them, they have siblings," says Dr. Henderson.

Health officials say it’s important for children to be able to study in classrooms. But as the number of students in quarantine grows, more schools have shifted to virtual learning plans.

Dr. Henderson says the risk of coronavirus transmission in the classroom is low, and most exposure happens at sporting or social events. “If school is the goal and school is the focus, then we need to prioritize academics over extracurricular activities," says Dr. Henderson. "And in order to do that, we need to limit these get-togethers and these super spreader events so that our kids can stay in school.”

Dr. Henderson is also urging parents to avoid holiday gatherings this year, as asymptomatic children could spread the virus to older, more at-risk family members.