Nearly 1,640,000 children in the United States (US) have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since the onset of the pandemic, representing 12.2 per cent of the caseload nationwide, according to a new report.
The joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association revealed that a total of 178,823 new child COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week from Dec. 3 to 10.
The figure represented the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began, said the report published Thursday.
There was a 23-per cent increase in child COVID-19 cases in the two weeks from Nov. 26 to Dec. 10, it said, adding that the overall rate was 2,179 cases per 100,000 children in the population.
Children accounted for 1.2 per cent to 2.9 per cent of total reported hospitalisations, and 0 per cent to 0.21 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths, it said.
Out of the 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam which provided age distribution of reported COVID-19 cases, 11 states reported more than 50,000 child cases, 13 states said at least 15 per cent of their cases were children, whereas 10 states reported more than 3,500 cases per 100,000 children, it said.
“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children.
“However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic 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,” the report said.
In her latest statement, AAP President Sally Goza urged vaccine makers to “include younger children in their trials as it becomes safe to do so,” to ensure that “children of all ages and diverse populations can return safely to school in the fall.”
“How long that (COVID-19) tunnel will depend on Americans practising the public health measures that have been proven to reduce the spread of the virus: social distance, wear masks, avoid crowds, wash hands, and get the vaccine when it becomes available,” she added.
The US on Monday started its COVID-19 vaccine rollout nationwide.
The country has so far registered more than 16.7 million cases with more than 303,000 related deaths, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.