COVID-19 cases in children continue to set records


As far as the pandemic is concerned, it seems like a pretty small thing. A difference of just 0.3%. Children now represent 11.8% of all COVID-19 cases that have occurred since the beginning of the pandemic, compared with 11.5% 1 week ago, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Hiding behind that 0.3%, however, is a much larger number: 144,145. That is the number of new child cases that occurred during the week that ended Nov. 19, and it’s the highest weekly figure yet, eclipsing the previous high of 111,946 from the week of Nov. 12, the AAP and the CHA said in their latest COVID-19 report . For the week ending Nov. 19, children represented 14.1% of all new cases, up from 14.0% the week before.

In the United States, more than 1.18 million children have been infected by the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, with the total among all ages topping 10 million in 49 states (New York is not providing age distribution), the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam, the AAP/CHA data show. That works out to 11.8% of all cases.

The overall rate of child COVID-19 cases is now up to 1,573 per 100,000 children nationally, with considerable variation seen among the states. The lowest rates can be found in Vermont (344 per 100,000), Maine (452), and Hawaii (675), and the highest in North Dakota (5,589), South Dakota (3,993), and Wisconsin (3,727), the AAP and CHA said in the report.

Comparisons between states are somewhat problematic, though, because “each state makes different decisions about how to report the age distribution of COVID-19 cases, and as a result the age range for reported cases varies by state. … It is not possible to standardize more detailed age ranges for children based on what is publicly available from the states at this time,” the two organizations noted.

Five more COVID-19–related deaths in children were reported during the week of Nov. 19, bringing the count to 138 and holding at just 0.06% of the total for all ages, based on data from 43 states and New York City. Children’s share of hospitalizations increased slightly in the last week, rising from 1.7% to 1.8% in the 24 states (and NYC) that are reporting such data. The total number of child hospitalizations in those jurisdictions is just over 6,700, the AAP and CHA said.


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