The academy on Monday announced that as of Oct. 29, more than 853,000 children across the country have been infected with COVID-19, with some 200,000 new cases among children reported in October alone.
Additionally, “in the one-week period ending Oct. 29, there were 61,000 new cases in children, which is larger than any previous week in the pandemic,” the AAP said in a news release, noting that the estimates are “likely an undercount because children’s symptoms are often mild and they may not be tested for every illness.”
The AAP’s estimates are based on reports from health departments across 49 states and in New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam. The data is compiled each week by the AAP and Children’s Hospital Association, according to the release.
“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone – including our children and adolescents,” AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a statement. “This virus is highly contagious, and as we see spikes in many communities, children are more likely to be infected, too. We can help protect everyone in our communities by keeping our physical distance, wearing masks, and following other recommendations from our doctors and public health experts.”
Though rare, some COVID-19-infected children have suffered from so-called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), an inflammatory condition that is similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes swelling in arteries throughout the body.
Many children with MIS-C — which causes inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs — have either been infected with the novel coronavirus or had been exposed to someone with a COVID-19 infection, health experts have said.
MIS-C can also cause persistent fever, rashes, vomiting and diarrhea, among other symptoms such as a red tongue and eyes.
“On every measure – new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths – the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction,” Goza added. “We urge policymakers to listen to doctors and public health experts rather than level baseless accusations against them. Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have put their lives on the line to protect our communities. We can all do our part to protect them, and our communities, by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and getting our flu immunizations.”