Children and COVID-19: U.S. adds latest million cases in record time


The United States just passed the 6-million mark in COVID-19 cases among children, with the last million cases taking less time to record than any of the first five, according to new data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Number of weekly COVID-19 cases in children, United States

The five-millionth case was reported during the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 2, and case number 6 million came during the week of Oct. 1-7, just 5 weeks later, compared with the 6 weeks it took to go from 1 million to 2 million last November and December, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report.

There were 148,222 new cases reported during the week ending Oct. 7, bringing the total case count to 6,047,371 since the pandemic started. New cases continued to drop, however, and that weekly count was down by 14.6% from the previous week and by 41.1% from the peak of almost 252,000 reached in early September, the two groups said while also noting limitations to the data, such as three states (Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas) that are no longer updating their COVID-19 dashboards.

Other metrics show similar drops in recent weeks. Among children aged 0-11 years, emergency department visits involving a COVID-19 diagnosis dropped from 4.1% of all ED visits in late August to 1.4% of ED visits on Oct. 6. ED visits with a COVID-19 diagnosis fell from a peak of 8.5% on Aug. 22 to 1.5% on Oct. 6 for 12- to 15-year-olds and from 8.5% to 1.5% in those aged 16-17 years, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate of new hospital admissions for children aged 0-17 years was down to 0.26 per 100,000 population on Oct. 9 after reaching 0.51 per 100,000 on Sept. 4. Hospitalizations in children totaled just over 64,000 from Aug. 1, 2020, to Oct. 9, 2021, which is just over 2% of all COVID-19–related admissions over that time period, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

That pattern, unfortunately, also applies to vaccinations. “The number of children receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine this week [Sept. 30 to Oct. 6], about 156,000, was the lowest number since vaccines were available,” the AAP said in a separate report on vaccination trends, adding that “the number of children receiving their first dose has steadily declined from 8 weeks ago when 586,000 children received their initial dose the week ending Aug. 11.”

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