Covid-19 cases among children soar past half a million, tally rose by 16% in just two weeks: Report

The experts also urge Americans to get their flu shots to stay protected as the flu season is approaching


                            Covid-19 cases among children soar past half a million, tally rose by 16% in just two weeks: Report
(Getty Images)

A new report puts the spotlight on the proportion of Covid-19 cases among children. Since the pandemic took off, more than half a million children have reportedly contracted the disease. What is more, in just about two weeks, the tally rose by 16%. The experts also urge Americans to get their flu shots to stay protected as the flu season is approaching. The report is a collaboration between the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association. Children represent 9.8% of the total infection tally, suggested data from the health department websites of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” AAP President Dr Sara “Sally” Goza, said in a statement. “While much remains unknown about Covid-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities," she added. Child Covid-19 cases in California, Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida make up more than 15,000 infections. Between August 20 and September 3, the US witnessed a 16% increase, with 70,630 new cases reported among children. Six states -- Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota -- bore the highest burden.

Covid-19 is taking a higher toll on minorities. “A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities,” Dr Goza added.

(Getty Images)

Children rarely appear to develop serious complications or die from the disease, the report suggested. Between 0.3%-8.3% of infected children were hospitalized, according to data from 23 states and NYC. As for fatalities, children represented 0%-0.3% of all Covid-19 deaths, with 18 states reporting zero child deaths. “This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” said Dr Sean O’Leary, vice-chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The goal is to get children back into schools for in-person learning, but in many communities, this is not possible as the virus spreads unchecked.”

As the flu season nears, some doctors fear that people may develop both Covid-19 and flu at the same time. “It is certainly possible, although we aren't clear how coinfection occurs,” Dr Jay Bhatt, former chief medical officer of the American Hospital Association, told ABC News. “We will learn more as we get into the flu season.” Further, both infections lead to similar symptoms, posing challenges to diagnosis. The AAP has urged people to get their flu shot.

“Now we are heading into flu season. We must take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help; that includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and maintaining social distance,” O’Leary said. “In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children,” he added.

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