Pediatric COVID-19 cases are up by 32% from two weeks ago, according to a recent report.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Association, used state-level case data, writing that almost 6.8 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, as of Nov. 18.
"This week nearly 142,000 child cases were added, an increase of about 32% from two weeks ago," the groups wrote. "Child cases have declined since a peak of 252,000 the week of Sept. 2, but COVID cases among children remain extremely high."
For the 15th consecutive week, child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000 and since the first week of September, there have been more than 1.7 million additional child cases.
Since the onset of the pandemic, children have represented 16.9% of total cumulated cases and children were 25.1% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases for the week ending on Nov. 18.
The overall rate of child COVID-19 cases as of that date was 8,992 cases per 100,000 children in the population. Children under age 18 reportedly make up 22.2% of the U.S. population.
From Nov. 11 through the 18, 141,905 child COVID-19 cases were reported and children previously represented 25.1% of the weekly reported cases.
Over the two weeks from Nov. 4 through Nov. 18, there was a 4% increase in the cumulated number of child COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
While the AAP and CHA said the age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases was provided on the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam, a smaller subset of states reported on hospitalizations and mortality by age.
Among 24 states and New York City, children ranged from 1.7% to 4.0% of their total cumulated hospitalizations; 0.1%-1.9% of all their child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.
Among 45 states, New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam, children were 0.00% to 0.25% of all COVID-19 deaths and .00% to 0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.
Available data indicates COVID-19-associated hospitalization and death is uncommon in children and – at this time – it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is also uncommon.
"However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects," the report said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that fewer cases have been reported in children ages 0-17 years old compared with adults, highlighting that while children have been less affected by the disease compared with adults, children can get sick and spread COVID-19 to others.
Children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness.
Rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations are also lower in children of all ages compared to adults, although some children develop acute symptoms or later develop Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C),
Everyone 5 and older is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.