The misconception that children are somehow not at risk for contracting the coronavirus is debunked yet again with a report that more than half a million American children have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, over 500,000 kids (as of 9/8/2020 the number of reported cases was 513,415) have contracted the virus, with 70,630 new reported child cases from August 20 to September 3. This marks a 16 percent increase in child cases over a 2 week period.
"These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously," Dr. Sally Goza, American Academy of Pediatrics President, said in a release. "While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities." She added, "A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities."
The experts, including Dr. Sean O'Leary, the vice-chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases, stressed parents should continue to make sure their children follow all prevention methods in the coming months.
"Now we are heading into flu season. We must take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help," Dr. O'Leary advised. "That includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and maintaining social distance. In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children."
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that any child 6 months or older should get a flu shot, especially this year as COVID-19 symptoms and flu symptoms can often be similar and there is concern doctors, parents, and caregivers could easily confuse them. It is recommended to get the flu shot by the end of October.
The number of child deaths from the virus is 0% to 0.3% of all COVID-19 deaths, but The Doctors note a child who is positive can easily pass the virus to other members of their family or community, which is critical for multigenerational families or families where someone is at-risk or has an underlying health condition.