61K children test positive for COVID-19 in highest 1-week increase
There were approximately 61,000 new cases of COVID-19 diagnosed among U.S. children in the 1-week period ending Oct. 29 — the highest 1-week increase during the pandemic, according to the AAP.
There have been more than 853,000 pediatric COVID-19 cases in the U.S., including nearly 200,000 cases diagnosed in October, the AAP said.
“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents,” AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, 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.”
According to an AAP news release, severe illness as a result of COVID-19 is rare among children. However, the AAP noted an urgent need to collect more data on long-term impacts, including ways SARS-CoV-2 may harm the physical health of infected children, as well as their emotional and mental health.
“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,” Goza said. “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 data cited by the AAP are compiled each week by the AAP and the Children’s Hospital Association from reports by public health departments in 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.
“These numbers reflect a disturbing increase in cases throughout most of the United States in all populations, especially among young adults,” Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, said in the statement. “We are entering a heightened wave of infections around the country. We would encourage family holiday gatherings to be avoided if possible, especially if there are high-risk individuals in the household.”
The AAP said the number of reported COVID-19 cases in children is likely an undercount because children’s symptoms are often mild and, therefore, not every infected child is tested.
“On every measure — new infections, hospitalizations and deaths — the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction,” Goza said. “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.”
AAP. Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report. Accessed Nov. 3, 2020.