What We're Reading: Child Abuse Reports Plummet; Children Possibly Spreading COVID-19; Michigan to Pay Flint Residents

August 20, 2020

Reports of child abuse fell due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic; higher levels of the new coronavirus were found in children than in hospitalized adults; Michigan will pay $600 million to Flint residents.

Reports of Child Abuse Drop

Amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, centers helping child abuse victims across the country have seen 40,000 fewer cases of abuse compared with rates in 2019, The Washington Post reports. Teachers, who are used to seeing children every day in person, often report cases of child abuse—a feat that becomes much harder when interactions are limited to weekly video calls. Surveys conducted by the National Children’s Alliance, an accrediting body for a network of 900 children’s advocacy centers, found that between January and June 2019, centers saw 192,367 children compared with 152,016 children during the same time period in 2020, marking a 21% decrease.

Children Have Higher Coronavirus Levels Than Adults in ICUs

A new study conducted by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children found children have significantly higher levels of the new coronavirus in their airways than hospitalized adults in intensive care units (ICUs), according to USA Today. The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, analyzed 192 children, 49 of whom tested positive for the coronavirus. The children’s ages ranged from 0 to 22 and all arrived at an urgent care clinic or hospital, suspected of having SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Although some children had symptoms, others did not and were brought to the clinic because they had been in contact with an infected individual or lived in a high-risk area.

Michigan Will Pay $600 Million to Compensate Flint Residents

The state of Michigan will pay $600 million to compensate residents of Flint whose health was damaged from lead-tainted drinking water after the city did not treat the hazard properly, The Associated Press reports. Although details of the payment were not made public, the move comes nearly 6 years after residents initially complained about the water’s smell, taste, and appearance, and cases of Legionnaires disease were linked to the supply. The payment is intended to solve all legal actions against the state and would be put into a fund where Flint residents could file claims for compensation. Amounts awarded per resident would be dependent on how badly the individual was harmed by the crisis.