AAP reports sharp increase in pediatric COVID-19 cases

The latest report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association indicates that case of COVID-19 in children are continuing to sharply climb.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was thought that the disease barely touched children and then when that was proven false, that it resulted in only asymptomatic or mild cases. Now as of September 2, 2021, there have been over 5 million cases in children since the start of the pandemic. Even more worrying, the number of pediatric cases has seen an exponential increase of more than 750,000 cases in the past month alone. According to the latest weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, there were more than 252,000 pediatric cases added, the largest single week increase since the pandemic’s beginning.1 In the past week, children accounted for 26.8% of reported cases.

Fortunately, the report noted that according to the subset of states that reported on hospitalization and deaths, both were uncommon in COVID-19 cases. Children also account for 10.9% to 21.2% of all tests in 11 states that reported on testing and among those who are tested 4.8% to 17.7%.

With this sharp rise in cases, Contemporary Pediatrics spoke with editor-in-chief Tina Q. Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPIDS, about the current landscape. When discussing COVID-19 during any visit, she recommended that, “pediatricians should be advising their patients’ parents to continue to practice all the protective mitigation protocols that they were doing this past year. This includes: 1) having everyone in the household who is eligible for vaccine to get vaccinated, 2) continue to wear mask in public especially in indoor settings, this is especially important in daycares and in school regardless of those states that have banned mask mandates, 3) continue to social/physical distance if possible, 4) practice good hand hygiene, 5) stay home or away from other people’s homes if someone has symptoms or are ill, 6) make sure that your child’s routine vaccines are up to date.” During visits, she also recommended that pediatricians strongly advocate that all members get the vaccine, particularly in households that have members who are currently ineligible for a vaccine. Although much of the COVID-19 coverage has been on the delta variant, there are 2 others that could pose a problem in the future. When asked about them, Tan said, “The lambda variant was first identified in Peru in August 2020 and has spread to other parts of South America. It has been reported in 44 states in the United States. The mu variant was first identified in Colombia in January 2021 and has spread to 38 other countries including the United States. Mu seems to be associated with increased transmissibility and the current COVID-19 vaccines don’t seem to provide much protection against this variant.”

Reference

1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Children and COVID-19: state-level data report. Updated September 7, 2021. Accessed September 8, 2021. https://www.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/children-and-covid-19-state-level-data-report/