December 31, 2020
The number of infants, children, and teens who have contracted COVID-19 passed 1 million last week, according to new data released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.
Nearly 112,000 new cases of COVID-19 in children were reported during the past week, the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began. The groups release new data every Monday.
"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic," Sally Goza, MD, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a statement.
"We haven't seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio," she said.
Children make up 11.5% of all cases, with a rate of 1,381 cases per 100,000 children in the general U.S. population.
Among the 10 states that reported age-related testing numbers, children made up 5% to 17.4% of testing, and 3.9% to 18.8% of children tested positive.
Severe COVID-19 still appears to be rare among children, but hospitalizations and deaths do occur, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported. Among the 23 states that reported hospitalizations, children represented 1.2% to 3.3% of hospitalizations. About .5% to 6% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.
In addition, children make up 0% to 0.21% of COVID-19 deaths among the states that reported, and 0% to 0.15% of child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.
The American Academy of Pediatrics called on elected leaders to "immediately" enact a new national strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and address the social and mental health harms from the pandemic. Nearly a third of parents have reported mental health issues, and they reported 14% worse behavioral health among their children, according to a national survey published in Pediatrics, the journal for the organization.
"While we wait for a vaccine to be tested and licensed to protect children from the virus that causes COVID-19, we must do more now to protect everyone in our communities," Goza said in the statement.
"This is even more important as we approach winter, when people will naturally spend more time indoors where it is easier for the virus to be transmitted."
American Academy of Pediatrics: "Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report," "More Than 1 Million Children in U.S. Diagnosed with COVID-19."
Pediatrics: "Well-being of Parents and Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Survey."