Children Make Up More Than 1 In 5 COVID Cases

By on
The Israeli survey is focused on pupils between the ages three and 12 who are not yet eligible for the jab, nearly 1.5 million children
The Israeli survey is focused on pupils between the ages three and 12 who are not yet eligible for the jab, nearly 1.5 million children

Pediatric coronavirus cases are on the rise as children made up 22.4% of all new COVID-19 cases for the week ending Aug. 26, according to a report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Over a two-week period, Aug. 12-26, there was a 9% increase in the cumulated number of child COVID infections, the report said. The high infection rate comes as schools reopen nationwide and students return to in-person learning.

Children under 12 have yet to be eligible for the vaccine and the American Academy of Pediatrics says more time is needed to study the vaccine’s effects on children. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, children in states with low vaccination rates are four times more likely to become infected. “Cases, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations are much lower among children and communities with higher vaccination rates. Vaccination works," Walensky said Thursday, as reported by USA Today.

As of Aug. 26, nearly 4.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. States like Florida are hospitalizing 66 children a day for COVID-19, nine weeks ago it was only six, Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist and an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida, told WFLA. 

“America’s children’s hospitals are at an unprecedented strain,” said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-FL, when speaking on the state's large number of infections in children. “Pediatric hospitals are at or near capacity and they expect to see more child patients as schools continue to open across the country.”

Dr. Christina Canody, a Pediatric Service Line Medical Director with BayCare, has described the outbreak among children as “the perfect storm,” adding, “Last year when we opened, we had mask mandate requirements, we had some of the lowest rates of infectivity, positivity, and prevalence that we had seen during the pandemic, but this year we were at absolute opposite ends of the spectrum.”

“At best, schools are going to be a mirror for what’s happening in our communities,” Salemi said. “So the extent to which we can continue to take responsible action and bring community spread of this virus down, the more safe our children will be when they’re going back in the school setting.”

Vaccines for children under 12 are not expected until at least midwinter, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The agency is asking for six months of safety follow-up data for children, compared to just two months of follow-up data for adults. 

As of mid-July, Pfizer said it anticipated results on its clinical trials for children ages 5 to 11 sometime in September. Data for children ages 2 to could come soon after that, according to the company, and data for infants ages 6 months to two years may come in October or November. 

"Given that children are one of the groups that are unvaccinated, we will see more cases in children," said Dr. Richard Besser, a pediatrician and former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NBC News.

At least 335 children 17 and younger have died from the virus.

Join the Discussion