More than 61,000 children were confirmed to have COVID-19 in the United States last week alone, according to a report that warned COVID-19 cases in children are rising to record numbers. In a joint report issued Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association noted that more children contracted COVID-19 last week than had in any other week since the pandemic began earlier this year.
"The number of new child COVID-19 cases reported this week, over 61,000, is the highest since the pandemic began," the report noted. A total of 61,447 children were reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 between Oct. 22 and Oct. 29, according to data pulled from the health departments of 49 states, New York City, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam.
According to the report, a total of 853,635 children have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began — a number that contradicts President Donald Trump's repeated claims that children are "virtually immune" or "almost immune" to the virus. While children are less likely than adults to become severely ill from COVID-19, research has show they are far from immune.
Indeed, the percentage of pediatric COVID-19 cases has been rising steadily. In mid-April, children made up just 2% of COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to NBC News. On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association reported children made up 11.1% of the nation's total COVID-19 cases.
However, while the percentage of pediatric COVID-19 cases has risen, children continue to make up only a small percentage of the nation's total hospitalizations and deaths. According to Monday's report, children accounted for just 1 to 3.5% of total reported hospitalizations in 24 states and New York City — the only areas where data was available. Additionally, data showed that in these 24 states, between 0.5 and 6.7% of pediatric COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization.
Similarly, in 42 states and New York City, children made up 0 to 0.20% of all COVID-19 deaths. In fact, according to the report, 16 states have reported no pediatric COVID-19 deaths at all. As a result, between 0 to 0.14% of all pediatric COVID-19 cases result in death.
But while COVID-19 related severe illness, hospitalization, and death still appear to be rare in children, pediatric health experts have said more research is urgently needed to understand the virus' potential long-term affects on children. As the report noted, "There is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.