By Rachell Sanchez-Smith
More than 10,000 Arkansas children stand to be infected by COVID-19 as the pandemic reaches levels not seen since last winter’s surge, the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences said in a new report
“The highest relative growth in cases will be in children 17 and under,” the medical school said in its Aug. 23 forecast. An additional 10,784 children are expected to get COVID-19 between August 15 and August 30, according to the report’s forecast. “Young adults and children are being infected at very high numbers and many are requiring hospitalization.”
The COVID-19 positivity rate for Arkansas is nearly five times higher than the national average, the report said. It predicted 4,523 new COVID-19 cases on Sept. 14, almost double the rate of new daily cases. Calculations by ArkansasCovid.com show the 7-day average stands at 2,066 cases per day as of Aug. 26.
These high numbers of COVID-19 cases are due to the lagging vaccination rates in the state, especially for children and young adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40.6% of eligible Arkansans are fully vaccinated as of August 27, the sixth-worst ranking among the 50 states. Children under 12 who are still ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Arkansas has a COVID-19 positivity rate of 21%, above the national average of 3.6%, according to the UAMS report.
Consistent with the upwards trend of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, deaths will soon follow UAMS reports. They also predict that more than 7,000 deaths will occur by Aug. 30 using forecasts based off of ADH data. Meaning that COVID-19 will have killed more Arkansans in all the wars in the 20th and 21st centuries, UAMS indicates.
–Rob Wells contributed to this article