MEMPHIS, Tennessee — The number of children infected with COVID-19 is on the rise.
There has been a 33% increase in child infections across the state of Tennessee over the past 10 days. In West Tennessee, the percentage is significantly higher.
Local 24 News looked at data from the Tennessee Department of Health for the last 10 days. As of Tuesday, there were more than 9,000 school-aged children who had tested positive, a disturbing trend says one local infectious disease specialist.
"There is a perception that kids aren't going to get sick," said Dr. Stephen Threlkeld, infectious disease specialist.
Threlkeld isn't surprised the number of school aged children testing positive for COVID-19 is rising.
"These are things that are sort of the results of things we have been talking about and been worried about. There are probably just too many get together among younger age groups and kids," said Threlkeld.
We looked at Tennessee Health Department Data. For the 10-day period of July 18-28, the number of school aged children in Shelby County who tested positive for COVID-19 rose by 18%. 247 new cases were reported during the 10-day period. In Tipton Co, the number of new child cases jumped more than 62%. Fayette County saw a 13% increase.
In more rural parts of West Tennessee, the numbers also spiked.
Tennessee data shows Haywood County has seen a 126% increase in child cases in the past ten days. Hardeman County, 86%. Lauderdale County, 39%. In Dyer County, there has been a 30% increase in the number of school-age children testing positive for the coronavirus.
"That is the age where people tend to be the least careful about social distancing mask wearing those other things. Certainly it's not an unexpected problem when you get people together, you are going to have more cases," said Threlkeld.
Threlkeld says the problem with children getting COVID-19 is they spread it to older members of the family who may have compromised immune systems.
When it comes to the rise in child cases, he added, " I think we have been a bit desensitized and relaxed about the risk to kids and though it is lower some of them are going to get sicker and some are going to die."
Threlkeld said with school just around the corner, be it virtual or in-person classes, parents need to be cautious. The rise in child cases shows no one is immune to the virus.