COVID-19 cases spike dramatically in US children with over 10 million infected
More than 10 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.
COVID-19 cases among children have spiked dramatically across the United States during the Omicron variant surge.
A total of 10,603,034 child COVID-19 cases had been reported across the country as of January 20, and children represented 18.4 percent of all confirmed cases, according to the report published late Monday.
Over 1.1 million child COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week, nearly five times the rate of the peak of last winter's surge, according to the AAP.
This number was a 17 percent increase over the 981,000 added cases reported the week before and a doubling of case counts from the two weeks prior, according to the AAP.
Over 2 million child COVID-19 cases have been added in the past two weeks.
This marks the 24th week in a row child COVID-19 cases in the United States are above 100,000. Since the first week of September, there have been over 5.6 million additional child cases, according to the AAP.
Children accounted for 1.7 percent to 4.4 percent of total reported hospitalizations, and 0 to 0.26 percent of all COVID-19 deaths, according to the report.
"There is an urgent need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects," said the AAP in the report.
"It is important to recognize there are immediate effects of the pandemic on children's health, but importantly we need to identify and address the long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental, and social well-being of this generation of children and youth," said the report.
COVID-19 hospitalization rates among children are soaring in the United States due to the surge of cases drive by the Omicron variant.
The 7-day average of daily new hospital admissions for children under 18 with confirmed COVID-19 reached a record high of 914 cases in the week ending January 16, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Currently the country is averaging about 900 child COVID-19 hospitalizations each day, up 7.1 percent from the previous week, CDC data show.
There have been over 91,000 child hospitalizations in the United States since the CDC started to track the data from August 1, 2020.
Though the United States saw sharp increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations among children, their vaccination rates lagged.
Only 20.3 percent of children aged five to 11, and 55.4 percent of children aged between 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to CDC data.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said the best way to keep children protected is to vaccinate them as they are eligible and surround them by siblings and parents who are vaccinated themselves.