Over Half a Million U.S. Kids Infected With COVID

WEDNESDAY, September 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) – More than 500,000 American children were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early September, with a dramatic increase seen in recent weeks, a new report reveals.

Between August 20 and September 3, 2020, 70,630 new cases of children were reported, bringing the total to 513,415 cases, a 16% increase over two weeks, according to state-by-state data compiled by the ‘American Academy of Pediatrics. (AAP) and the Association of Children’s Hospitals.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” said Dr Sara Goza, AAP President.

As of September 3, children accounted for nearly 10% of all reported COVID-19 cases in the United States since the start of the pandemic, according to the two organizations’ latest weekly report.

The results underscore the need for increased efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, experts said. The virus surged in southern, western and midwestern states over the summer, they pointed out.

“While a lot remains unknown about COVID-19, we know the spread among children reflects what is happening in larger communities,” Goza said in a press release from the AAP.

“A disproportionate number of cases are reported in black and Hispanic children, and in places of high poverty. We must work harder to address the social inequalities that contribute to these disparities,” she added.

Dr Sean O’Leary is vice-chair of the academy’s committee on infectious diseases. “This rapid increase in positive cases has happened over the summer, and as the weather gets colder we know people will be spending more time indoors,” he said.

“The goal is to get kids back to school for face-to-face learning, but in many communities this is not possible as the virus is spreading unchecked,” O’Leary added.

As influenza season approaches, it’s important to “take this seriously and implement the public health measures that we know can help,” he said. This includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, maintaining social distancing, and getting the flu shot.

“These measures will help protect everyone, including children,” O’Leary said.

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Jothi Venkat

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