(Gray News) - As students in some states return to in-person schooling amid warnings from medical experts, a new report has found a noticeable rise in COVID-19 infections among children in the United States since July.
Over the past four weeks, there’s been a 90% hike in known COVID-19 cases among U.S. children, according to a report published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
More than 380,000 children had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Aug. 6. Nearly 180,000 of those were reported after July 9.
The data comes from state health departments in 49 states, New York City, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and Guam. The definition of “child” varied widely across datasets with the narrowest reporting only cases in those 14 and younger and the widest including cases up to age 24.
The worst hit states are California, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Illinois and Georgia, which have all seen more than 15,000 cases in children.
Children represent just over 9% of the total virus cases in the U.S.
Severe symptoms still appear rare among those kids infected, making up less than 2% of hospitalizations in 20 states and New York City between May 21 and Aug. 6. However, at least 90 children have died from the disease.
“It’s not fair to say that this virus is completely benign in children,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice-chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “We’ve had 90 deaths in children in the U.S. already in just a few months. Every year we worry about influenza in children, and there are roughly around 100 deaths in children from influenza every year.”
Researchers say an effective testing strategy should be put in place to help communities properly determine if and when to reopen schools for in-person teaching.
The report is expected to be revised weekly.