Children now account for more than a fifth of new coronavirus cases in states that release data by age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. For context, children only made up about three percent of all new COVID-19 cases in America just one year ago.
The AAP’s data shows that children made up 22.4% of new COVID cases reported in the last week of April. Over the last two weeks, there was a four percent increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in children.
Kids also accounted for a small, but growing, increase in hospitalizations, making up 1.2 to 3.1% of COVID-19 hospitalizations across the country.
What does this mean? Are we experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases in children?
It’s likely that the main reason pediatric cases are making up a larger percentage of new diagnoses overall is because of widespread vaccination among adults. Think about it like this: The more adults that get vaccinated, the fewer there are testing positive for COVID-19. That changes how we talk about the proportions of new cases.
105 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, while 147 million people have received at least one shot. Hospitalizations have gone down 94% in Americans aged 65 and older, likely due to the vaccination of that age group, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control.
Still, there have been reports of COVID-19 outbreaks among children linked to youth sports.
“We’re finding out that it’s the team sports where kids are getting together, obviously many without masks, that are driving it, rather than in-the-classroom spread,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, last month. “When you go back and take a look and try and track where these clusters of cases are coming from in the school, it’s just that.”
Overall, more than 3.7 million children have contracted COVID-19.
While we wait for a pediatric vaccine, there are ways you can keep your kids safe, mama. Continue to practice social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing—and make sure your children know why it’s so important.