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October 27, 2020

COVID-19 cases increasing among U.S. children as fall arrives

Children's Health COVID-19
COVID-19 in children Pedro_Wroclaw/Pixabay

While severe illness and death from COVID-19 continues to be rare in children, the overall number of cases among the youngest Americans is on the rise.

The number of COVID-19 cases among children has increased by 14% within the last two weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

There have been 792,188 children diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, a total that represents 11% of all U.S. cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. There were 94,555 new pediatric cases since Oct. 8.

Still, severe illness and death continues to be rare. Pediatric patients represent just 1% to 3.6% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations, depending on the state. Less than 0.15% of pediatric cases have resulted in death. 

In Pennsylvania, there have been 22,340 COVID-19 cases in children age 19 and under – about 11% of the state's 198,446 cases. The vast majority have been in children between the ages of 10 and 19. There have not been any pediatric deaths. 

In New Jersey, there have been a total of 10,950 cases reported in children age 17 and under – about 4.7% of the state's 231,331 cases. Three children under age 5 have died. 

As of Tuesday, almost 9 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to John Hopkins University. There have been more than 226,000 deaths. 

The AAP said its calculations differ from the information provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because the federal agency doesn't release age data on a regular schedule. The pediatrician group tracks cases in children on a weekly basis.

The AAP acknowledged that their numbers are incomplete. States report data in different ways with some states only reporting hospitalizations and deaths by age. The actual number of children infected with COVID-19 is probably higher.

AAP numbers come from 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

The AAP continues to emphasize the importance of children wearing masks, practicing social distancing and getting a flu shot.

For Halloween, the pediatrician group is recommending creative alternatives to traditional trick or treating like virtual costume parties, outdoor scavenger hunts, halloween-themed crafts and movie nights at home.

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