September 15 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Zamira Rahim and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 12:01 a.m. ET, September 16, 2020
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9:33 p.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic has worsened mental health issues, expert says 

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened mental health issues, especially for young people of color, a mental health expert said Monday.

Isha Weerasinghe, who leads mental health work for the Center for Law and Social Policy, said that poor support for mental health in many communities has been made worse during the pandemic. She cited a lack of connectedness due to isolation, economic hardships, increased stress due to police brutality and its impacts, and anti-Asian violence and bullying. 

“You pair that with increased anxiety and increased isolation, it’s no wonder that there have been increased mental health conditions, adverse mental health conditions, which includes self-harm and suicide ideation and attempts,” Weerasinghe said at an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention briefing.

She added that the lack of access to health care in many communities extends to a lack of mental health care.

“There have been, of course, through the pandemic relaxed regulations in terms of telehealth, but when we're talking about people living in low income communities and households ... they are privileges that only some of us are able to access,” Weerasinghe said. 

Many of these communities were burdened with higher levels of mental health issues before the pandemic began. 

She cited data from recent years showing disproportionately high rates of suicide, self-harm, anxiety and depression among young people of color, whose communities have now been hit harder by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen an egregious increase in suicide rates for Native young people, said Weerasinghe, citing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Fatal Injury and Violence data from 2016 to 2018. “We've seen an increase in suicide rates in Black and Hispanic young men, and we've seen an increase in rates of non-fatal self-harm for all young people, with an increase particularly among Black young people.”

The CDC recently released a report showing more people were thinking about suicide this June. 

9:30 p.m. ET, September 14, 2020

Nearly 550,000 children have tested positive for Covid-19

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

A boy receives a free Covid-19 test at a St. John's Well Child and Family Center clinic outside of Walker Temple AME Church in Los Angeles on July 15.
A boy receives a free Covid-19 test at a St. John's Well Child and Family Center clinic outside of Walker Temple AME Church in Los Angeles on July 15. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Nearly 550,000 children in the US have been diagnosed with Covid-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

The groups found that 72,993 new child cases were reported from Aug. 27 through Sept. 10. This is a 15% increase in child cases over two weeks, bringing the total to at least 549,432 cases, the groups said in their weekly report on pediatric coronavirus cases.

Cases listed by age are provided by health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, but only a subset of states report hospitalizations and mortality by age.

From the data available from 24 states and New York City, children made up 0.6% to 3.6% of total reported hospitalizations, and between 0.3% and 8.2% of all child Covid-19 cases ended up in the hospital. From the 42 states that track mortality by age, children were 0% to 0.3% of deaths, and 18 states that reported on deaths by age had no deaths among children.

The AAP would like even more detailed reporting from states.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to Covid-19 is rare among children,” the report said. “However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on Covid-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age and race/ethnicity so that the effects of Covid-19 on children’s health can be documented and monitored.”

Children represent nearly 10% of all reported cases in the US, according to the report. The child cases are likely underreported because the tally relies on state data that is inconsistently collected.