CDC: 335 Children Ages 17 and Under Have Died of COVID in U.S. During Pandemic

Susan Jones | July 20, 2021 | 9:57am EDT
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending face masks for all students returning to school this year. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending face masks for all students returning to school this year. (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago, in January 2020, a total of 335 children ages 17 and under have died of COVID-19, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In that same 18-month time period, a total of 49,725 children ages 0-17 have died from all causes. So COVID deaths account for 0.673 percent of all deaths among children under 17, based on death certificates submitted so far to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Jumping to the next age group, 18-29, 2,446 have died of COVID-19, or 2.607 percent of the total 93,796 deaths for this age group since January 2020.

According to CDC, "Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can get sick with COVID-19. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (‘asymptomatic’). Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults. Babies younger than 1 and children with certain underlying medical conditions may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19."

CDC does not provide underlying conditions contributing to the deaths of the 335 children 0-17 where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate. Nor does it conveniently list comorbities for the 18-29 age group.

Instead, CDC lists underlying conditions for the 0-24 age group where COVID-19 was listed on the death certificate.

In that 0-24 age group, some of the underlying conditions listed (based on ICD codes) include influenza and pneumonia; respiratory diseases; obesity; diabetes; heart disease; circulatory problems; infections and parasitic diseases; injury, poisoning and "adverse events"; and various other residual conditions and causes.

Although children under 17 -- and people under 29 -- are less likely to die from COVID than older people are, the CDC and the Biden administration are pushing hard for everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

On Saturday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Biden and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he expects the Food and Drug Administration to give full approval to at least one of the COVID vaccines "in a matter of a month or so." 

Right now, the vaccines available in the United States are approved for emergency use.

"I would hope by the time we get to the end of August that we have full approval," Fauci told CNN.

"But, you know, even between now and then, people should realize that the data of the efficacy and real world effectiveness of these vaccines is really extraordinary, not only in the United States but in multiple countries throughout the world. So, I would be astounded if we did not get full approval within that time frame."

Meanwhile, medical researchers are studying the efficacy of vaccines in younger age groups: 9-12, 6-9, 2-6, and 6 months-2 years.

"Thus far, things look good," Fauci said about vaccinations for young children. "But the final decision is going to be up to the FDA. And I would imagine that likely will not happen until we get well into the winter towards the end of this year."

On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued updated guidance, "strongly" recommending in-person learning for the upcoming school year, and also recommending that "everyone older than age 2 wear masks, regardless of vaccination status."

Vaccines are not yet available to children under 12, and the AAP said that's why it recommends universal masking.

"Combining layers of protection that include vaccinations, masking and clean hands hygiene will make in-person learning safe and possible for everyone,” the guidance said.

“There are many children and others who cannot be vaccinated,” said Sara Bode, M.D., who heads the Academy's Council on School Health. “This is why it’s important to use every tool in our toolkit to safeguard children from COVID-19. Universal masking is one of those tools, and has been proven effective in protecting people against other respiratory diseases, as well.

"It’s also the most effective strategy to create consistent messages and expectations among students without the added burden of needing to monitor everyone’s vaccination status,” Bode said.

The pediatrics group is emphasizing “the need for schools and local communities to use science and data to guide decisions, with the understanding that policies are intended to lessen -- but cannot completely eliminate -- risk.”

Fauci on Monday told CNN that the American Academy of Pediatrics is a "thoughtful group." "They analyze the situation, and if they feel that's the way to go, I think that's a reasonable thing to do."

Fauci said they "just want to be extra safe."

The table below shows the number of COVID deaths by age group, based on death certificates submitted so far to the CDC's Center for Health Statistics.

(Data from CDC's website)
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