New CDC Data Details How Many US Children Have Developed COVID Antibodies Post-Infection

According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a significant number of US children who have contracted COVID-19 have developed antibodies against the virus. About 86% of children between six months old and 17 years old have developed COVID at least once as of August 2022. This means that almost nine in 10 children have antibodies from a previous COVID infection. "What we have to recognize is this is more of an indication that there's been broad spread of this virus in the pediatric community," said John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital (via ABC News).

However, experts warn that this data does not mean children are necessarily protected from the virus. It is unclear how long protection from antibodies lasts after an infection. "What we should not take away from this data is that the kids are now immune from infection, so we can't make the leap that continual investment in vaccines and protections of our kids is not important," Brownstein said. "As we know, immunity wanes and variants evolve to evade prior immunity." Health experts believe that the risk of reinfection is high and may increase again this fall.

How to protect children against COVID-19

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to protect children against COVID will vary depending on their age and individual circumstances. However, there are some general tips that can help keep kids safe from the virus. Getting your child vaccinated and boosted when they are eligible can prevent serious infection (via Johns Hopkins Medicine). Having your child wear a mask in high-risk areas can also reduce their risk of infection.

It is important to ensure that kids wash their hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water to protect themselves against COVID, as they would with any virus. This is especially important after they have been in contact with people or surfaces outside the home. If you are concerned about your child getting COVID because of a health condition or other issue, is also a good idea to keep kids away from crowded places as much as possible. If they must go out in public, it is important to make sure that they wear a face mask and stay at least six feet away from other people when possible. If your child is immunocompromised or has a high risk of serious infection, speak with your pediatrician about the best ways to keep them safe.