Coronavirus has infected over 2% of U.S. children


After last week’s ever-so-slightly positive news, the COVID-19 numbers in children have gone back to their old ways.

Proportion of COVID-19 cases that occurred in children

For the week ending Dec. 10, there were 178,823 new COVID-19 cases reported in U.S. children, the highest weekly total yet during the pandemic. The number of new cases had dropped the week before after setting a new high of almost 154,000 during the last full week of November, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

A new weekly high has been seen in 9 of the last 10 weeks, during which time the weekly total of child cases has gone from just over 40,000 (week ending Oct. 8) to almost 179,000, the two organizations said.

The cumulative number of child COVID-19 cases for the year is now almost 1.64 million, which means that 12.2% of all cases have occurred in children and that 2.1% of all children (2,179 per 100,000) in the United States have been infected with the coronavirus, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly report, which includes health department data from 49 states (New York does not report age distribution), the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

The cumulative proportion of 12.2% has been exceeded in 27 states, as well as Puerto Rico and Guam, with the highest coming in Wyoming (21.3%), South Carolina (18.1%), and Tennessee (18.1%) and the lowest in Florida (6.7%, but the state uses an age range of 0-14 years) and New Jersey (7.6%), the AAP/CHA data show.

In a separate statement, AAP president Sally Goza, MD, welcomed the approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine but noted that the “virus is at unprecedented levels in nearly every community in the U.S., and in many areas, our health care system is terribly overburdened. The vaccine will not solve this overnight. I urge everyone to continue to practice social distancing, and wear masks or cloth face coverings, and get a flu shot, so we can protect the people we care about.”

Dr. Goza continued: “We applaud Pfizer-BioNTech for including children ages 12 through 17 in their clinical trials and we look forward to learning more about the data from children aged 12-15. We also want to acknowledge the discussion during the committee meeting on including 16- to 17-year-olds in the EUA [emergency-use authorization]. We believe that discussion underscores the need to keep expanding these trials to the pediatric population so we can collect robust data on this age group.”

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