CDC: Most American Kids Have Caught COVID-19, And Almost All Of Them Were Just Fine

(Photo by NOAH SEELAM/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data Tuesday detailing just how many Americans are believed to have been infected with COVID-19 at some point during the pandemic.

Around 58% of Americans have natural antibodies from a previous COVID-19 infection as of February 2022, the agency reported Tuesday. The number surged from about 34% in December 2021, driven by the highly-contagious Omicron variant, and does not include individuals who have antibodies from vaccination but haven’t been infected.

The proportion among children and teenagers is even higher. Three out of every four Americans under age 18 are estimated to have antibodies for the virus, the CDC said. That’s up from about 45% in December. (RELATED: Poll: Plurality Of Parents Think Masks Hurt Their Kids’ Social Development)

Data was gathered by testing around 74,000 blood samples per month from September to January, and another 46,000 in February, from a national network of commercial labs. The study did not measure exactly how much protection the antibodies provided individuals with against reinfection.

There are about 73 million Americans under age 18, according to the Census Bureau, meaning at least 54 million minors have been infected with COVID-19. There have been 1,509 deaths in that age group from the virus, according to the CDC, resulting in a survival rate of at least 99.997%.

In the entire pandemic, there have been 121,166 minors admitted to hospitals with COVID-19, according to the CDC. That comes out to a hospitalization rate of, at worst, 0.2%, although it’s unknown how many of those hospitalizations were actually for COVID-19. (RELATED: CDC Says It Accidentally Inflated Children’s COVID Death Numbers In ‘Coding Logic Error’)

Despite the low risk of a severe outcome from a coronavirus case in children, some jurisdictions still require preschoolers to wear masks, a policy President Joe Biden’s coronavirus czar endorses. The World Health Organization explicitly recommends against masking children.