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A shocking number of children were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week

November 4th, 2020 at 8:16 PM
Coronavirus update
  • The latest coronavirus update showing how much the virus is affecting children around the country reveals a worrying trend.
  • The latest data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows that more than 61,000 children were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week — more than during any other week of the pandemic.
  • This comes as experts warn the coming weeks will present the US with the worst period of the coronavirus pandemic yet.

Everyone has been keenly focused on how much worse the COVID-19 pandemic will get this winter, with increasingly dour projections shared by public health experts like White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Speaking of Fauci, don’t forget — he shared the following coronavirus update with The Washington Post on Friday, regarding the US’ prospects for the winter: “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation. All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

These kinds of big-picture, large number predictions are what tend to dominate the coronavirus-related news cycle from one day to the next — but they miss some important sub-trends inherent in those numbers which don’t get talked about as much. For example, here’s another sobering fact about the pandemic: A record number of children were diagnosed with COVID-19 just last week.

That’s according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, in a report issued Monday. It highlights the fact that more than 61,000 children were diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus last week, which is a new record. That’s more than at any other week during the pandemic thus far.

“While children represented only 11.1% of all cases in states reporting cases by age,” the report summarized, “over 853,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic.” And that percentage, by the way, has now topped 11% after hovering around the 2% mark back in April.

“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents,” Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said in a news release about the findings. “This virus is highly contagious, and as we see spikes in many communities, children are more likely to be infected, too. We can help protect everyone in our communities by keeping our physical distance, wearing masks, and following other recommendations from our doctors and public health experts.”

While severe cases of the coronavirus have proven rare in children, the AAP is urging the collection of more data to study longer-term effects of the virus on children, such as the mental health toll the pandemic and its consequences are taking. Each week, the AAP and CHA compile data from the public health departments across the country.

“Not only are children feeling the direct effects of the virus and becoming ill, but the pandemic has transformed their lives at critical stages of development and education,” Dr. Goza said. “I’m very concerned about the long-term harms that children may suffer, particularly Black and Hispanic children, who are suffering a higher number of infections.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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