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New COVID data show record weekly increase in cases in children :

November 2, 2020

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Cases of COVID-19 in U.S. children have shown a record increase in the most recent reporting period, according to the latest weekly report from the AAP and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA).

There were 61,447 new cases in children in the one-week period ending Oct. 29, the largest increase in any week since the pandemic began. In the month of October, there were about 200,000 new cases.

The data show 111,744 new child cases reported from Oct. 15-Oct. 29. That adds up to 853,635 cumulative child COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 29, a rate of 1,134 cases per 100,000 children. There were 792,188 total cases in children as of Oct. 22.

More than 9.2 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S., as of Nov. 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“These numbers reflect a disturbing increase in cases throughout most of the United States in all populations, especially among young adults,” said Yvonne A. Maldonado, M.D., FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. She urged families to continue to take precautions, especially with the holidays looming.

“We are entering a heightened wave of infections around the country,” said Dr. Maldonado, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology and population health, and chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Stanford University School of Medicine. “We would encourage family holiday gatherings to be avoided if possible, especially if there are high-risk individuals in the household. If not, the number of individuals should be limited and should adhere to local, county, state guidelines around social distancing, masking for all including children over 2 years of age and frequent hand hygiene.”

The most recent AAP-CHA data also showed children represented 1%-3.5% of all reported hospitalizations. In addition, 0.5%-6.7% of all child COVID-cases resulted in hospitalizations (24 states and New York City reporting).

Testing data from 10 states revealed that children made up 5%-16.9% of total state COVID-19 tests, and 3.6%-14.6% were positive.

Pediatricians should continue to urge families to stay vigilant and follow precautions — even if it means children have to forgo favorite activities such as sports due to a positive test result.

“It is important to monitor illness in children and not avoid reporting because of missing sports,” said Dr. Maldonado. “These children, who may be less likely to have severe disease, may transmit infection to others in their household and community who do have high risk for severe disease.”

AAP President Sara “Sally” H. Goza, M.D., FAAP, reaffirmed the need to stay the course especially amid the new data — and future concerns.

“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents,” she said. “… Not only are children feeling the direct effects of the virus and becoming ill, but the pandemic has transformed their lives at critical stages of development and education. 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. 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-CHA data are compiled each week from reports by public health departments of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. Actual numbers of COVID-cases are assumed to be higher.

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