Children accounted for a rising share of all American COVID-19 cases as some U.S. schools gingerly welcomed students back to the classroom this summer and fall, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
Children accounted for 10.7% of all U.S. COVID-19 cases as of Oct. 8, up from 9.3% on Aug. 20 – a 15% jump in seven weeks, the study found. For their findings, researchers drew on data from 49 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and Guam.
In the early weeks of the pandemic, officials at the World Health Organization were optimistic that the novel coronavirus that touched off the global pandemic, would almost completely spare children. And children do remain far less likely to suffer serious consequences from the virus. But that optimism has not been entirely borne out in the intervening months in the United States.
In the week of April 15, children accounted for only 2% of known cases, compared with 10.7% in the week of Oct. 8. Some of the increase can likely be chalked up to testing that in the early days was reserved for health care workers and people showing clear symptoms of COVID-19 — primarily older people. Children are now being tested at a higher rate.
A total of 697,633 children tested positive for COVID-19 as of Oct. 8, compared with 6,505,390 of Americans overall. Nationally, the official death rate among children infected with the virus remained under 0.25%.