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Covid-19 Cases In Children Are Up 32%, Pediatrician Group Warns

Nearly 142,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 between November 11 and November 18, representing a roughly 32% increase in cases from two weeks prior.

by Morgan Brinlee

Despite seeing a decline in pediatric Covid-19 cases in the early fall, data from the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) has shown Covid-19 cases in children are on the rise — again. Nearly 142,000 children tested positive for Covid-19 between November 11 and November 18, representing a roughly 32% increase in cases from two weeks ago, the professional association of pediatricians noted in its most recent report.

Nearly 6.8 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 since the pandemic began in March 2020, reports the AAP. Pediatric Covid-19 cases peaked in early September when they hit a record weekly high of 252,000 cases. And until recently, cases had been on the decline.

From November 11 to November 18, however, 141,905 cases of Covid-19 were reported in children, meaning kids made up just over 25% of the week’s reported Covid-19 cases. That number also represents a 32% increase in pediatric Covid-19 cases when compared to the roughly 107,000 cases in children reported for the week that ended November 4. What’s more, the AAP also noted in their report that the number of cases reported from November 4 to November 18 represents a 4% increase in the overall number of Covid-19 cases reported in children since the beginning of the pandemic.

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“Child cases have declined since a peak of 252,000 the week of September 2, but Covid cases among children remain extremely high,” the pediatrician group noted, adding that reported pediatric Covid-19 cases had remained above 100,000 for the 15th consecutive week. “Since the first week of September, there have been over 1.7 million additional child cases.”

This latest rise in pediatric Covid-19 cases comes just after Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine became widely available for children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old, following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) decision to expand the vaccine’s emergency use authorization on October 29. But although the White House estimated that more than 900,000 children aged 5 to 11 received their first dose of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine by November 11, CNN has reported that children remain the least vaccinated age group out there.

Despite data from Pfizer’s clinical trials showing the vaccine to be 90.7% effective against preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in young children and recommendations for vaccination from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the AAP, polls show many parents are hesitant to vaccinate their eligible kids. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found only 27% of parents with children between the ages of 5 and 11 planned to have their children vaccinated against Covid-19 “right away.” In contrast, 33% said they planned to “wait and see” how the vaccine performed, while 30% reported a staunch opposition to the vaccine and 5% said they would vaccinate their child only if required to do so.

And although serious illness due to Covid-19 is rare in young kids, public health experts have continued to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against the virus. “Even though the chances of [a child] getting sick and seriously ill are small — why do you want to take a chance of that with your child, when you can essentially protect the child by an intervention that is proven to be both highly effective and very safe?” Axios reported Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said while speaking on an FDA expert panel in late October.