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Report: 513,415 children diagnosed with COVID-19 :

September 9, 2020


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More than half a million U.S. children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and at least 103 have died, new data show.

Pediatric cases increased 16% from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3, bringing the total to 513,415, according to the latest weekly report from the AAP and Children’s Hospital Association.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” AAP President Sara “Sally” H. Goza, M.D., FAAP, said in a news release. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities. A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.”

The report pulls data publicly reported from health departments in 49 states, New York City, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam, some of which include people up to age 20 in their pediatric case counts.

The latest report shows a rate of 680 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 children. Children make up 9.8% of the total cases and about 1.7% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations, up from 0.8% of hospitalizations in late May. Roughly 1.9% of children diagnosed with COVID-19 have been hospitalized, according to data from the 23 states and New York City that are publicly reporting hospitalization data.

There also have been at least 103 pediatric deaths in 42 states and New York City, making up about 0.07% of all COVID-19 deaths. Roughly 0.02% of children who have contracted known cases of COVID-19 have died.

“It’s definitely clear that kids are not impacted as severely as adults, but I think it’s … not fair to say it’s a completely benign illness in children,” said Sean T. O’Leary, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “Certainly for some children they are asymptomatic, for some children they have very mild symptoms but we clearly have a lot of hospitalizations and we’ve now had over 100 deaths.”

Health officials also are tracking cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but serious condition that appears several weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection or exposure. There have been 792 confirmed cases in 42 states, New York City and Washington, D.C., and 16 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pediatric cases of COVID-19 have been in the spotlight in recent weeks as school officials around the country considered whether to offer virtual or in-person education or a hybrid. The AAP has encouraged a return to school in areas where transmission is low and safety measures can be put in place.

While some schools offering in-person classes have reported cases of the virus, Dr. O’Leary said early anecdotal reports seem to indicate these cases are coming from outside the school and not widely circulating within the building when everyone is wearing cloth face coverings.

“I think it’s a little too early to declare victory on that, but I’m encouraged by what I’m hearing so far,” he said. “We don’t have any systematic evaluations yet though.”

Dr. O’Leary stressed the importance of continuing to take precautions, especially as people head indoors.

“We must take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help; that includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and maintaining social distance,” he said. “In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children.”

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