Child Covid Cases Hit All Time High As New School Year Begins

Child COVID Cases Hit All Time High As New School Year Begins

Young boy in hospital bed showing intravenous lines in arm
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Doctors say COVID is increasing “exponentially” among children

COVID cases among kids are higher now than at any other time during the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

During the week of August 26 to September 2, the AAP says there were 252,000 confirmed pediatric COVID cases. That huge spike is due to the millions of kids returning to school over the past few weeks, many of them unmasked and unvaxxed.

Going back about a month — from August 5 to September 2 — the AAP says there were 750,000 cases. Whereas kids have made up about 15 percent of cases during the pandemic as a whole, they’re now making up closer to 25 percent.

More of those kids are ending up in the hospital, too. One study found that hospitalization rates were about three times higher for kids over the last two weeks of August. Unsurprisingly, the same report found that unvaccinated teens were ten times more likely to end up hospitalized with the virus than teens who received the shot.

The AAP acknowledges that kids typically don’t become dangerously ill with the virus, and that cases caused by the Delta variant aren’t thought to be any more severe among children. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a serious threat.

Hundreds of kids have died since the pandemic began, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus and its variants. “There is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects,” the AAP wrote on its website.

The AAP is continuing to push mitigation measures to stop the spread of the virus in schools, including masking, social distancing, and vaccines for those who are eligible. Kids 12 and up can get the shots now, while kids as young as five should be able to get it as soon as the end of this year. And with cold and flu season just about upon us, the AAP is also telling parents to make sure they sign their kids up for the regular old flu shot as well.

The last thing any parent wants is for their kid to wind up sick and suffering with a preventable illness. Whether it’s the flu shot or the COVID vaccine, the alarming new numbers of sick children prove that there’s no time like the present.