New data this week shows that more than 500,000 children in the United States have taken the test positive for coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The group said children accounted for 9.8% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States, where more than 6.3 million total cases have been reported, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.
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The AAP reported that there were 70,630 new cases of children, a 16% increase in two weeks between August 20 and September 3, bringing the national total to 513,415. Puerto Rico was among the six states and territories that showed an increase in child cases.
The AAP and the Children’s Hospital Association compiled data from children of different ages as reported by 49 state health departments, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Texas was excluded from the analysis, the AAP noted.
Coronavirus deaths among children
The report states that the cumulative death toll in the United States for children from the coronavirus is 103. In a subset of data analyzed from 42 states and New York City, children accounted for 0-0.3% of all deaths from COVID-19 and 18 states have reported zero child deaths.
“Right now, it appears that serious illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children,” the AAP said. But health experts said the children can spread COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control have released new data on a deadly e mysterious pediatric disease with apparent links to the coronavirus. Since mid-May, the CDC has been following an outbreak of Multisystem inflammatory disease in children (MIS-C), which is also or sometimes referred to as PMIS.
The CDC describes it as “a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19” that sometimes occurs after a COVID illness or after contact with someone with COVID-19. Instead of attacking the lungs as new coronavirus disease does in adults, this syndrome, while apparently very rare, can trigger serious, even fatal, heart complications in children.
As of September 3, the CDC has collected reports of 792 confirmed cases of MIS-C and 16 deaths in 42 states, New York City and Washington, D.C. Other cases are under investigation.
Data from the CDC suggest that “the majority of cases involve children between the ages of 1 and 14, with an average age of 8.” They also note that “over 70% of reported cases occurred in Hispanic / Latino children (276 cases) or non-Hispanic blacks (230 cases)”.
Some students return to classes in person
The AAP report was published as thousands of children have returned to school this week for in-person lessons. On Long Island, parents seemed nervous and excited as they left their children.
Students lined up in Richardson, Texas for temperature checks before entering the building. San Antonio’s Forrester Elementary is usually filled with 850 children; but this morning only 53 opted for in-person lessons.
“I feel like they’re just a little off balance, maybe a little bit with the rooms looking different, everyone wearing masks,” Principal Kelly Mantle told CBS News. “I think it will become a new norm for a while and the children will get used to it and we will get used to it with each passing day.”
New AAP data worries some educators, such as those in suburban Phoenix, where the first day of in-person classes was canceled after teachers were sick.
In New York, new cases have increased by more than 25% compared to two weeks ago. And with New York City schools preparing for in-person classes in the coming weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking to allay parental fears.
“We will have a COVID report card for every school in the state,” he said.
Omar Villafranca contributed to this report.
Video: The number of children with multisystem inflammatory syndrome continues to rise (CBS New York)
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