October 28, 2020 -- Children now make up about 11% of coronavirus cases in the U.S., which means a 14% increase during the past 2 weeks, according to a new report released Monday from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Nearly 800,000 U.S. children have contracted COVID-19 as of Oct. 22, according to the national group that represents pediatricians across the country. Between Oct. 8-22, more than 94,000 new cases were reported in kids.

Children represent about 1% to 3.6% of total COVID-19 hospitalizations, depending on the state. Between 0.6-6.9% of COVID-19 cases in children lead to hospitalization, the group said.

About 0.15% of children who contracted COVID-19 have died, and 16 states reported no deaths among children.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children,” the group wrote. “However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on COVID-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age and race/ethnicity so that the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health can be documented and monitored.”

The AAP releases a weekly report on the numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths among children. The group began collecting and publishing data from state health departments after finding that the CDC didn’t release regular or complete information around age in its data tracker, according to CNN.

Importantly, the AAP noted, it’s count also isn’t complete since states report data in different ways. The numbers likely undercount COVID-19 cases and deaths in children, the group said.

Among the 10 states that provide specific information about testing, children made up 5-17% of total state tests. Between 3.5-14.5% of children tested positive.

To prevent the spread of the coronavirus among children, the AAP recommends wearing masks, avoiding crowds and following social distancing guidelines. Children who are 6 months or older should get a flu shot, the group said, particularly before the end of the month.

The AAP also updated its guidance on Monday around child care during the pandemic. The group recommended that programs conduct daily health checks of staff and children before drop-off, which includes screening for temperature, coronavirus-related symptoms and recent contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Programs should have a response plan for children who become sick during the day and isolate them until children can go home.

“Early care and education programs including child care, family child care, and Head Start programs offer a supportive learning environment for healthy child development as well as a foundation of services for young children and their families,” the AAP wrote.

“The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the importance of these services such as provision of healthy meals, referrals to community resources, and social connections for children and families,” the group said.

The AAP also emphasized the importance of annual well-child care visits, routine vaccinations and supports for emotional and behavioral health as the pandemic continues.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

American Academy of Pediatrics, “Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report, October 26, 2020.” 

CNN, “Group sees 14% increase in child Covid-19 cases with close to 800,000 US kids infected.”  

American Academy of Pediatrics, “AAP updates interim guidance on child care during COVID-19.”

 

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