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SARS-CoV-2-Associated Deaths Among Persons Aged <21 Years – United States, February 12-July 31, 2020

Our take —

From February 12 to July 31, 2020, 121 deaths in the US were reported among those <21 years of age, including 15 (12%) due to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C); the majority of these deaths were among those aged 10-20 years. 75% of those who died had underlying conditions, and although Black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations comprise 41% of the US population, 75% of deaths were among these groups highlighting persistent disparities. Young people have died from COVID-19, although this was rare. During this study period most schools and daycare centers were closed, which likely reduced risk of infection and death for children and adolescents.

Study design


Study population and setting

This analysis was conducted using data on COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths among persons aged <21 years of age from public health surveillance in the United States from February 12 to July 31, 2020.

Summary of Main Findings

47 out of 55 health districts in the US contributed data to the analysis as 8 did not respond to the CDC survey; among 47 reporting, 27 reported deaths in this age group. Among 391,814 cases among persons aged <21 years, 121 deaths were reported: 10% were aged <1 year, 20% were aged 1-9 years, and 70% were 10-20 years old. 75% (91/121) had pre-existing underlying conditions, including asthma, obesity, and neurologic, developmental, and cardiovascular conditions. 12% (15/121) of deaths were associated with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). 16% of deaths occurred at home. 75% of deaths occurred among Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indian/Alaskan Natives.

Study Strengths

These data represent the most comprehensive surveillance data from the US on COVID-19 related deaths among this age group.


Not all health jurisdictions responded to the survey, and many reporting jurisdictions reported no deaths; therefore, it is possible that deaths were missing from this analysis. Death certificates were not available to confirm cause of death but will be complied for future analyses.

Value added

Although deaths among persons aged <21 years due to COVID-19 and related complications are rare, they do occur. This analysis fills important gaps in our understanding of the frequency and characteristics of persons in this age group who died and highlights gaps in care, considering that many of these deaths occurred at home, and the racial and ethnic disparities in mortality.

This review was posted on: 28 October 2020