U.S. Sees Highest 1-Week Increase in Child Cases of Coronavirus

A record-setting 61,000 children came down with COVID-19 last week.

U.S. Sees Highest 1-Week Increase in Child Cases of Coronavirus

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Children’s Hospital Association is reporting that child cases of COVID-19 are at “unprecedented levels” since the start of the pandemic.

“As of Oct. 29, more than 853,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, including nearly 200,000 new cases in children during the month of October,” the association said in a statement. “In the one-week period ending Oct. 29, there were 61,000 new cases in children, which is larger than any previous week in the pandemic.”

Despite the significant spike, COVID-19 doesn’t cause severe illness in most children. However, the group said there needs to be more data collected on the long-term impacts the virus has on minors, including the impacts on their physical health, as well as the emotional and mental health toll the coronavirus is having on kids who aren’t infected.

“I’m very concerned about the long-term harms that children may suffer, particularly Black and Hispanic children, who are suffering a higher number of infections,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. “This includes not only children who test positive for the virus, but everyone in these communities who are suffering disproportionate emotional and mental health harms.”

The AAP believes that its current tally of coronavirus infections is an undercount because children’s symptoms are often mild, so they aren’t tested.

Severe cases of COVID-19 in children most often occur in those with underlying health conditions, reports the CDC. Those conditions include chronic lung disease, asthma, disabilities, immune disorders, psychological conditions, heart disease and severe obesity.

Additionally, children who are infected but asymptomatic can infect the adults around them, including their parents, grandparents and teachers.

“We urge policymakers to listen to doctors and public health experts rather than level baseless accusations against them,” said Dr. Goza. “Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have put their lives on the line to protect our communities. We can all do our part to protect them, and our communities, by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and getting our flu immunizations.”

Read the full report.

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