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Local pediatricians alarmed at latest COVID-19 trends

All four pediatricians are pleading with parents to keep their kids away from large gatherings like graduation parties

ST. LOUIS — Some local pediatricians are alarmed after more than 20 people tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a graduation ceremony and prom of one high school.

RELATED: Troy Buchanan High School asking families to monitor health after COVID-19 case at graduation

RELATED: High school students test positive for COVID-19 after outdoor graduation ceremony, off-site prom

"There's been some recent data that's concerning to us," explained Dr. John Cole. "It suggests that maybe younger children don't spread this as easily but the children ages 10 to 19 can spread it as efficiently or effectively as adults."

We talked to four different pediatricians who say they didn't have very many pediatric cases for the first few months of the pandemic but the trend is going in the wrong direction.

"Since July between the ages of 10 and 19,  I've had nine positives," Dr. Kristin Stahl told us, "so we are seeing that trend as well."

And they said the reason may very well be get-togethers like graduation parties.

"The kids and parents say there are only 15 or 20 people in the backyard, but the kids tell us they're not social distancing," Dr. Angela Jones said. "They're not wearing masks"

Most kids may only get mild symptoms but that's not what concerns these doctors.

"There are parents with underlying medical conditions and grandparents," Dr. Suzanne Hanson pointed out. "Many, many families live near their older relatives and many grandparents are caregivers."

So we asked what parents should know before their kids go to a gathering like that.

"I actually had this conversation several times today. Please, please, please do not let your children attend these events," said Dr. Hanson.

"We as parents have to remember that the decisions that we make during the pandemic don't only affect us and our families. It affects our neighbors and the community," Dr. Cole said. "We may not have any significant long term issues but if we go and expose other people to that unknowingly or knowingly by flouting the rules, what happens is we may lead to significant illness and even death in some other family."

RELATED: COVID-19 cases for people 20 and younger grow in Missouri as school districts make plans for reopening in the fall

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