Recently there was a lot of press in Texas re: COVID19 cases in daycare. Media sources reported some scary numbers: 950 cases on June 30 compared to 67 cases on May 21 (a 1317% increase). Of the 950 cases, 307 were children. From these reports, it seems like daycares are of particular risk for children. OR is this just a reflection of the widespread reach of COVID19 in Texas?
307 children with COVID19 is devastating. However, like with everything else, it’s REALLY important to also report the denominator. In other words, 307 children out of how many? If this is rate of COVID19 is higher in daycares than the general population, we could be in trouble.
In February 2020, there were 1,100,000 children enrolled in Texas daycares across 12,207 facilities. After the pandemic hit, this number dramatically fluctuated. Daycare enrollment first decreased (was only open to essential workers). Then this number increased as daycares opened up. Unfortunately, I do not know the exact of children who attended daycare during this pandemic. None of the media sources I read reported this. I also have searched high and low for databases. No luck.
So, I ran a few hypothetical scenarios…
If 50% of kids attended daycare during the pandemic (compared to pre-pandemic), this would be 550,000 children. If there were a total of 307 cases at daycares, this would equate to 0.05% of children at daycares infected by COVID19. If 1% of kids attended daycare during the pandemic, this would be 11,000 children. This scenario would equate to 2.79% of children in daycare infected by COVID19.
In Texas as a whole, 0.13% of daycare aged children have been infected by COVID19. So, given the scenarios, this would equate to 20% of children attending daycare during the pandemic. If there were LESS than 20% of children that attended daycares during the pandemic, daycares may be a trouble spot for COVID19. If more children attended daycares during the pandemic, daycares are probably NOT a trouble spot COVID19.
Translation: Are daycares an increased risk for kids? I don’t know. This is likely a testament that the virus explosion is so widespread that it’s touching everyone in our community. HOWEVER, we need more publicly available data (story of my life). Especially if we (parents) need to make data-driven, strategic decisions for our children.
Love, your local epidemiologist
PS. This is a really simple analysis and likely is excluding a LOT of factors. Would love to hear your thoughts. Also, before the hate comes streaming in, this post is ONLY about the risk to kids. Yes, I am of course thinking about the risk to staff/teachers. But this is a whole different story in which we don’t even have CLOSE to the data to even run hypothetical scenarios.