In a normal year, children might be expected to pick up all kinds of sniffles and colds. But in 2020, parents are also trying to keep their children away from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. The infection can, in turn, cause a new condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. “MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care,” explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported this week that there have been 513,415 cases of COVID-19 in children, about 10% of the total cases in the United States. Are the numbers going to go up though? Between the last week of August and the first week of September, 70,630 new cases were reported in children. Data were collected from 49 states, New York City, Washington DC, Puerto Rico and Guam.
Previous reports from the end of August, also show rising cases in children. And this trend might not stop in the fall. “This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” said Sean O’Leary, MD, vice-chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. Dr. O’Leary warned that return to life as it was might not be possible unless the virus was controlled. Dr. O’Leary shared his remarks in an AAP statement.
According to the AAP’s data, cases in children continue to rise. Their data shows the trend in rising cases in children (in red) mirroring that of the overall trend (in blue).
Luckily, child mortality has been low, around .02%. But being careful and preventing the spread of infection is still vital. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities,” said the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sara Goza, MD. “A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.” Dr. Goza shared her remarks in the same statement.
Both the AAP data on for cases per 100,000 children and the CDC data for cases per 100,000 show Louisana, Florida, Mississippi, and Arizona with the highest rates in both categories. Cases in children are in blue below, and the CDC data for total cases is in pink.
Even though kids are going back to school and Halloween is right around the corner, this is not a normal fall. Parents and children still need to vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.
Sabrina Emms is a science journalist. She got her start as an intern at a health and science podcast out of Philadelphia public radio. Before that she worked as a researcher, looking at the way bones are formed. When out of the lab and away from her computer, she’s moonlighted as a pig vet’s assistant and a bagel baker.