Coronavirus infections among children in the United States are continuing to spike with a 28 percent increase in cases in just the last two weeks, a new report revealed.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), almost 1.2 million children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the US as of November 19, amounting to 11.8 percent of all the nation’s cases.
The group’s report, published on Monday, revealed that the sharpest spike in cases among children took place in the two weeks between November 5 and November 19.
There was a nearly one-third increase in new pediatric cases during this time frame with more than 256,000 reported.
However, since the start of the pandemic, just 137 children have died, meaning the fatality rate is still around 0.01 percent.
As of November 19, nearly 1.2 million children have tested positive for coronavirus, making up 11.8% of all cases in the US. Pictured: A healthcare worker takes a swab sample from a child
The highest increases in child COVID cases were seen between Nov. 5 and Nov 19
For the week ending November 12, there were 111,946 new cases in children which was substantially more than any week in the pandemic before that.
However, that record was broken just a week later with more than 144,000 new cases in children.
Over these two weeks, the total cases rose from 927,518 to 1,183,609.
‘As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic. We haven’t seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio,’ said AAP President Dr. Sally Goza in a statement.
‘And while we wait for a vaccine to be tested and licensed to protect children from the virus that causes COVID-19, we must do more now to protect everyone in our communities.
‘This is even more important as we approach winter, when people will naturally spend more time indoors where it is easier for the virus to be transmitted.’
The AAP warned that even with the increasing numbers, the total cases among children are potentially being widely underreported as children may only suffer mild symptoms, or show no symptoms at all, meaning they would not be tested.
Since the pandemic began, children have only made up between five percent and 17.7 percent of total state tests.
It added that the infection rate has more drastically affected black and Hispanic children.
According to the report, the overall rate of pediatric coronavirus cases is 1,573 infections per 100,000 children in the population.
Currently, there are 13 states that report 15 percent or more of their cumulative cases are among children: Alaska, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The are now 14 states with tens of thousands of coronavirus cases
States have different metrics for the age range used to count child COVID cases
Wyoming has the most with nearly 25 percent of all the state’s cases among its youngest residents.
Meanwhile, just New York City has reported fewer than five percent of their cases are among kids.
Additionally, over the last two weeks, 20 states have seen a 25 percent increase in child cases: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming.
There are 13 states that report 15% or more of their cumulative cases are among children with Wyoming leading at around 25% (above)
To combat the spread of coronavirus among children, the AAP suggested establishing a national strategy involving mask mandates, testing and social distancing.
‘We urgently need a new, nation-wide strategy to control the pandemic, and that should include implementing proven public health measures like mask wearing and physical distancing,’ Dr. Goza said.
‘This pandemic is taking a heavy toll on children, families and communities, as well as on physicians and other front-line medical teams.
‘We must work now to restore confidence in our public health and scientific agencies, create fiscal relief for families and pediatricians alike, and support the systems that support children and families such as our schools, mental health care, and nutrition assistance.’
COVID-19 has been shown to have a more dangerous impact on the health of older people in general but can still prove to be deadly to children.
According to the AAC, between 0.2 and 5.6 percent of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization among 24 states and New York City.
This equaled between 1.2 and 3.1 percent of total reported hospitalizations.
It is thought that the total cases among children are being widely underreported as they may no show symptoms or be tested. Pictured, a child in Connecticut is tested for coronavirus
There is also limited data so far on the long-lasting effects that infection may have on children as they grow older.
Many schools across the country had returned to in-person learning at the start of the pandemic year with extra health and safety precautions in place.
However, some have been forced to close again and return to virtual learning because of increased cases among staff and students.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio closed New York City public schools after the Big Apple’s positivity rate hit 3 percent.
The closure of schools has been criticized by some who believe it is having a negative impact on the emotional and mental health of American children and having a harder effect on poorer families.
‘We know from research on the impact of natural disasters on the mental health of children that prolonged exposure to this kind of toxic stress is damaging,’ Dr. Goza said.
‘Most natural disasters have an end, but this pandemic has gone on for over eight months and is likely to continue to disrupt our lives for many more.
‘We’re very concerned about how this will impact all children, including toddlers who are missing key educational opportunities, as well as adolescents who may be at higher risk for anxiety and depression.’
As of Saturday afternoon, there are more than 13 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the US and over 264,800 deaths.
It leads the world in the number of infections as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the country.