Aug. 24, 2021 -- Weekly cases of COVID-19 in children have jumped by nearly 50% in the United States, posting the highest count since hitting a pandemic high back in mid-January, a new report shows.

The 180,175 new cases reported Aug. 13-19 represent the highest 1-week total since the peak of 211,466 during the week of Jan. 8-14. The latest weekly figure represents a 48% increase over the previous week and an increase of more than 2,000% in the 8 weeks since the national count dropped to a low of 8,500 from June 18 to June 24, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association said in their weekly COVID report.

Vaccinations, in the meantime, appear to be headed in the opposite direction. First vaccinations were down for the second consecutive week, falling by 18% among 12- to 15-year-olds and by 15% in those 16 or 17, according to CDC data.

Nationally, about 47% of children 12-15 and 56% of those 16-17 had received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine as of Aug. 23, with 34% and 44%, respectively, reaching full vaccination. The total number of children with at least one dose is 11.6 million, including a relatively small number (about 200,000) of children younger than 12, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

Vaccination rates among children vary widely by state. In Vermont, 73% of children 12-17 had received at least one dose by Aug. 18, and 63% were fully vaccinated. But in Wyoming, just 25% of children had received at least one dose (17% are fully vaccinated), while Alabama has a lowest-in-the-nation full vaccination rate of 14%.

There are seven states where over 60% of 12- to 17-year-olds have at least started the vaccine regimen and five states where less than 30% have received at least one dose, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted.

Mississippi and Hawaii had the largest increases in new cases over the past 2 weeks, followed by Florida and West Virginia.

In total, 4.6 million children had been infected with the coronavirus as of Aug. 19, which is 14.6% of all cases since the start of the pandemic. There have been more than 18,000 children hospitalized, which is just 2.3% of the total for all ages in the 23 states (and New York City) that are reporting such data.

The number of COVID-related deaths in children is now 402 after the largest 1-week increase (24) since late May of 2020.

WebMD Health News from MDedge

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