Over Half a Million Kids Have Been Diagnosed With COVID-19 in America
According to new data published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with the Children’s Hospital Association, over half a million kids (513,415) across America have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic as of September 3.
The grim data also notes that the past two weeks have seen 70,630 new pediatric cases—an increase of 16 percent—and 103 COVID-19 related deaths in kids. The states that saw the largest increases in cases are Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. In their report, the AAP also notes these numbers are dependent on what the states report and may not be as high as the real total.
As of September 3, children represent 9.8 percent of all reported cases, the report says. The highest surges of COVID-19 over the summer have occurred in Southern, Western and Midwestern states, the report notes.
“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a statement. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities.”
She also underscored that the novel coronavirus disportionately affects minority communities.
“A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty,” she continued. “We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.”
The worrying report comes right as many kids are preparing to head back to school. According to Sean O’Leary, MD, MPH, FAAP and vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, the numbers will likely climb into the fall.
““This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” he also said in the statement. “The goal is to get children back into schools for in-person learning, but in many communities, this is not possible as the virus spreads unchecked.”
He also recommended that children over the age of 6 get the flu vaccine.
“Now we are heading into flu season. 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 continued. “In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children.”