31 Children Under 12-Years-Old Test Positive for Coronavirus at Summer Camp in New York

The outbreak at Camp Pontiac, a sleep-away camp in upstate New York, started in the girls’ dormitories. Nurses, worried that young campers were showing symptoms of Covid-19, began administering tests. Last Saturday, one came back positive.

More would quickly follow: As of Thursday morning, 31 of the camp’s 550 campers had tested positive for the coronavirus, said Jack Mabb, the health director of Columbia County, where the camp is located.

None of the children were seriously ill from the virus, Mr. Mabb said.

The outbreak, coming as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads across the country and Covid-19 cases rise in New York State, is emblematic of the challenges that arise when a huge population cannot be vaccinated, even as it highlights the effectiveness of vaccines.

The virus reached the campgrounds, though all but a handful of Camp Pontiac’s staff and its children ages 12 and over are vaccinated. All 31 children who tested positive for the virus are under the age of 12, making them too young to receive vaccines in the United States, Mr. Mabb said.

With it still unclear when younger children will be eligible for the vaccine — President Biden said this week that he believed authorization would come soon — Mr. Mabb said he was worried that the outbreak may be a portent for the widespread return of in-person learning this fall.

“I think that when the kids go back to school, we could see this, and I’m concerned about that,” Mr. Mabb said.

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Michael Gold

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