More than 61,000 children in the US were diagnosed with COVID-19 last week – more than any other week during a pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Association of Children’s Hospital said on Monday.
In total, 853,635 children were diagnosed with the virus this year, representing 11.1% of all cases in the United States. The rate of pediatric cases has increased steadily since mid-April, when children accounted for only 2% of COVID-19 infections in the country.
“This is a clear reminder of the impact this pandemic has had on everyone – including our children and adolescents,” said Dr. Sally Goza, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. , said in a press release. Organizes weekly updates on children’s numbers with COVID-19, using state health department data.
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The organization says it believes the actual number of children infected with COVID-19 is higher because the disease tends to be mild in children and because they may not always be screened.
Children are reported to account for less than 3.5% of current COVID-19 hospital admissions. As of Thursday, 121 children have died.
The figure does not include a 13-year-old boy who died over the weekend in Missouri, less than two weeks after he last attended class. In a statement provided by the boy’s school district, his family urged everyone to wear masks, wash their hands regularly, and follow social isolation guidelines.
“Covid-19 is real and they want to remind students and parents to take these precautions in and out of school,” the statement said.
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A report by the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that in October, the largest increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among children – growing by 25% or more – occurred mainly in the western states: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho , Montana, New Mexico and Utah. Dakotas, Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin also reported more child growth.
Dr. Greg Demuri, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, said: “It kept going from awful to even worse. “There doesn’t seem to be any ending in sight.”
UW Health is currently seeing new cases of COVID-19 hospitalized every day, Demuri said. According to NBC News data, the total number of cases in the state has increased 88% in the past two weeks.
Dr Yvonne Maldonado, chair of the AAP Committee for Infectious Diseases, said in a statement: “We are entering a rising wave of infections across the country. “We encourage holiday family gatherings to be avoided where possible, especially if there are high-risk people in the family.”
“In every way – new infections, hospitalizations and death – America is going in the wrong direction,” Goza said.
A version of this story originally appeared on NBCNews.com.