COVID-19 cases among U.S. children are increasing as schools open.
More than 180,000 children tested positive for the virus last week, according to a report new report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
It’s a 48 percent increase from the 121,000 figure from just a week earlier, and the third-highest weekly total on record.
Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, approximately 4.6 million cases of COVID-19 in children have been recorded.
There were also 23 pediatric deaths from the virus last week, a number nearly triple the eight deaths a week earlier – but children still make up just 0.1 percent of all COVID-19 deaths.
According to the AAP, the new numbers mean that children are responsible for 22.4 percent of new cases — and 14.6 percent of all cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.
More than 180,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 last week, a 50% increase from the previous week. Children now account for more than 20% of active COVID-19 cases
In Vermont, children make up 23 percent of the total number of cases, the largest share of any state.
In Alaska, 21 percent of cases are children, also an abnormally higher proportion of cases among children.
There is no state in America where children account for less than 10 percent of the total number of cases since the start of the pandemic.
Children are less likely to be hospitalized or die from the virus, but some children still develop serious complications.
Children account for 14.6% of all COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in March 2020
About one percent of COVID-19 cases in children require hospitalization, according to the AAP, and young people make up about two percent of people hospitalized because of the virus.
The report shows 402 children have died of Covid since March 2020, 68 of them after the Indian ‘Delta’ variant became dominant in the US
Even if children do not have a severe case of the virus, it is possible for children to suffer from certain conditions for a long time, such as ‘prolonged Covid or myocarditis’.
Infected children can also spread the virus to parents, teachers, staff and others.
Schools are already turning out to be hotspots for the virus.
More than 23,000 students and staff in the greater Atlanta area have already tested positive for or been exposed to the virus.
Schools in Lamar County, about 50 miles south of Atlanta, even had to suspend classes for two weeks after so many people were quarantined that the system stopped working.
Leaders of the AAP have urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make COVID-19 vaccines available to young children to prevent situations like this.
dr. Lee Savio Beers, chairman of the AAP, wrote an open letter to the FDA on Aug. 5, urging the agency to accelerate the vaccine for children under 12.
“I am writing to urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue to work aggressively to authorize safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 as soon as possible,” she wrote.
“Pediatricians and the families they care for have been eagerly awaiting a vaccine that can be used in children aged 11 and under, especially now that the hyperinfectious Delta variant is on the rise.
“The Delta variant is rising at an extremely alarming rate in all regions of America. This wave has serious consequences for all population groups, including children.’
At this time, only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is available to minors, with emergency use approval for children 12 years and older.
Children under the age of 12 still cannot get a vaccine, leaving them vulnerable.
Polls show that parents of children appear to be evenly split on whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
An surveyMott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine last month found that 39 percent of parents said their children had already received a coronavirus shot.
But 40 percent of parents also said it was ‘unlikely’ that their children would be vaccinated.”