There has been a dramatic increase in coronavirus cases among children in the United States, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The association noted a 90% increase in pediatric cases over four weeks.
From July 9 to August 6, confirmed cases of COVID-19 in children across the country went from 200,184 to 380,174 – an increase of 179,990 new cases, according to the pediatrics group.
During the last two weeks of July alone, more than 97,000 children tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the AAP.
The academy found the overall rate of pediatric cases in the United States as of August 6 was 501 per 100,000 children in the population. “While children represented only 9.1% of all cases in states reporting cases by age, over 380,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic,” reads a summary of the AAP’s findings.
More than 25 children died of the coronavirus in July. Severe illness due to COVID-19, however, still appears to be rare among kids, according to the association.
According to the AAP, seven states have reported 15,000 or more cumulative child COVID-19 cases. The highest numbers were found in California, Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Florida.
The AAP urges states to continue to provide COVID-19 reports broken down by age group “so that the effects of COVID-19 on children’s health can continue to be documented and monitored.”
Collecting and analyzing all available data is especially critical as school districts around the country return to some form of school.
Pediatrician Dr. Dyan Hes told CBSN on Tuesday the rate of virus spread should be less than 3% for schools to reopen in an area. The rate of COVID-19 is 0.88% in New York state, according to Hes. In Florida, it’s 20%.
“You should not be reopening schools where it’s 20%. It should be less than 3%,” Hes said.
Florida’s Department of Health recorded a 137% increase in child COVID-19 cases over the past month. From July 9 to August 9, infections in children age 17 and under more than doubled in the state, climbing from 16,797 to 39,735. One day later, that number climbed to 42,761, according to the health department.
The state continues to be an epicenter of the pandemic, reporting 276 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, a new single-day record.
Hes said the disparity in cases between states makes reopening all schools impossible. “Reopening schools cannot be done nationwide because nationwide we’re not facing the same parameters,” she said.
On Monday, a Georgia high school that was featured in a viral photo showing students packed tightly in a hallway closed temporarily after nine students and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus, CBS Atlanta affiliate WGCL-TV reported. North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, had reopened for in-person learning on August 3.
“They should have never been opened, and you can see how crowded that school was,” Hes said.
In New York City, home to the nation’s largest school district, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a return to in-person schooling in the fall and gave parents until Friday night to register students for in-person instruction, remote learning or a hybrid.
Hes said the situation in Georgia is unlikely to happen in New York because schools will not be filled to capacity.
“In New York only about 25 to 30% of the kids are going to be allowed in any school building at one time,” she said. “So that school … (with) packed students in that Georgia hallway, that won’t be happening in New York.”