Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Children Rose by 40% in Two Weeks This July, Bringing the Total to Almost 340,000

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Children Rose By 40% in Two Weeks This July, Bringing the Total to Almost 340,000

8/10/2020 11:25:00 PM

Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Children Rose By 40% in Two Weeks This July, Bringing the Total to Almost 340,000

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association says coronavirus cases rose 40% from July 16 to 30.

. And while severe COVID-19 in children is uncommon, it’s not unheard of. Children made up 0.6% to 3.7% of all hospitalizations in 20 states (plus New York City) that reported figures, and 0.6% to 8.9% of all kids who got sick were hospitalized. As of July 30, 86 children had died from the disease, in 44 states and NYC.

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Overall, the new report found that children make up a growing proportion of COVID-19 cases. Back on April 16, kids only made up 2% of total COVID-19 cases (in 46 states, plus NYC and D.C.); by July 30, they made up about 8.8% of cases nationwide (in 49 states, plus NYC, D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam).

These data do not paint a perfect picture of how COVID-19 is affecting children in the U.S. Each state has rolled out social distancing measures and COVID-19 testing differently, which might affect both who’s getting sick and who’s being counted. It’s also unclear to what extent increased testing has led more children to be tested for the virus in the first place. It might be the case that in the early months of the pandemic, only the sickest were getting tested; given that children seem to experience less severe symptoms of a COVID-19 infection, it’s possible that in the spring, many children caught COVID-19 and recovered without ever getting noticeable symptoms, and thus without ever getting tested.

States also have different methods for collecting and organizing data about COVID-19. Notably, the age range that defines “child” differs between states—while most reported ages 0 to 17 or 0 to 19 as children, Florida and Utah limited “children” to ages 0 to 14, while Alabama went all the way up to age 24. These differences could have a big impact, because older children seem to be more likely to have symptoms than younger ones, and are more contagious.

However, the report does make certain trends clear. States in the south and west have driven much of the increase in the number of children diagnosed with COVID-19. Alabama had the highest proportion of cases in children, with kids making up 22.1% of the states total confirmed as of July 30, followed by Wyoming and Tennessee, both at 16%. Meanwhile, New York City and New Jersey, the epicenters of the early days of pandemic, have a much smaller relative proportion of children diagnosed with COVID-19, comprising less than 3% of total cases.

Read more: TIME Health »

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