Youth sports are helping fuel the worrying rise in COVID-19 cases among young people, the CDC chief said Monday.
“We are learning that many outbreaks in youth are related to youth sports and extracurricular activities,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the federal agency, at a briefing at the White House.
“This is among 18-24 year olds where we are actually seeing some spikes in cases,” he said. “Cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing it predominantly in younger adults.”
Walensky noted that the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is for youth sports to be “limited,” but added that if they are not, outbreaks can still be contained with a testing regimen.
The latest daily average of new cases in the United States in the past week is 4,970, he said, 3 percent higher than the daily average for the previous seven-day period.
He said it is not yet clear whether the most transmissible variants of the virus may be behind the rise of COVID-19 among young people.
“We still don’t have proof to say,” Walensky said.
She suggested that vaccinating younger people would have “a massive impact” on the transmission of the virus.
Currently, those under the age of 16 are not eligible for the vaccine in the US.
Vaccine maker Pfizer announced earlier this month that a clinical trial it recently conducted among 2,260 American adolescents showed its inoculation to be 100 percent effective in children ages 12 to 15, suggesting that children could receive preventive vaccines as soon as before next school year.
Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted the state ban on even high-risk coronavirus school sports.