According to new data released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospitals, the agencies are tracking data reported by state health departments.
There were 61,000 new childhood cases in the last week of October, “greater than any previous week during the pandemic,” the AAP said in a statement. From the outbreak of the pandemic to October 29, the AAP said, more than 853,000 children tested positive for Covid-19, of which nearly 200,000 were new in October.
“This is a clear reminder of the impact this pandemic has had on everyone – including our children and adolescents,” said AAP President, Dr. Sally Goza in the statement. .
“This virus is very contagious, and as we see a surge in many communities, children are also more likely to become infected,” Goza said.
However, these numbers could be too low a figure, the AAP said. Because children’s symptoms are usually mild and can resemble a common cold or a virus, many children are not screened.
Symptoms in children
Typical symptoms of Covid-19 in both children and adults include fever of 100 degrees F or higher, dry cough, shortness of breath, headache, digestive problems, body aches and fatigue, runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing.
Abnormal symptoms may include “Covid toe toe” – toes and other limbs slightly reddened, sudden loss of taste and smell, and conjunctivitis, a very contagious condition also known as eye pain. red.
However, early research suggests that children may not experience a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing as often as adults. Fever and cough were found in 56% and 54% of children in one study, compared with 71% and 80% in adults, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shortness of breath is only found in 13% of children compared with 43% of adults. Sore throat, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and diarrhea are also less commonly reported in children.
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While severe illnesses caused by Covid-19 seem very rare in children, severe illness has been reported, often occurring in infants less than one year.
When children needed hospitalization, the CDC found, one in three needed to be treated in an intensive care unit – a rate similar to that of adults.
Long-term effects are not known
According to an early October CDC report, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 are twice as likely to have a Covid-19 positive result than that of a 5 to 11 year old.
The CDC says more severe cases of Covid-19 often occur in children with an underlying health condition, with chronic lung disease, including asthma, the most commonly reported condition (55% ). While the percentage was smaller, children with disabilities (9%), immune disorders (7%), diabetes (6%), psychological illnesses (6%), cardiovascular diseases (5%) and severe obesity (4%) notably with severe cases of Covid-19 as well.
The AAP says there is an “urgent” need for research and more data on how the virus may affect chlld’s health in the long run, both physically, emotionally and mentally.
“Not only do children feel the direct influence of the virus and get sick, but the pandemic has changed their lives at the critical stages of development and education,” Goza said.
“I am very concerned about the long-term harm children can suffer, especially Black and Hispanic children, who are suffering from more infections,” she said. “This not only includes children who test positive for the virus, but all in these communities are suffering disproportionate harm to their mental and emotional health.”
Colder temperatures are sending more people indoors, into closer areas where the virus can spread more easily. Also, traveling on an upcoming vacation could put both children and adults more at risk when families gather.
Considering the increasing number of cases and hospitalizations across the country at the moment, AAP is calling on families to take better preventive measures and consider canceling any Thanksgiving or vacation plans. other.
“We can help protect people in our community by keeping physical distance, wearing a mask and following other recommendations from our doctors and community health professionals,” Goza said. .
“We are entering a wave of high infections nationwide. Disease,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, who chaired the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases.