COVID in children: Infections skyrocket 30X, now account for 30% of cases

A health care worker administers a COVID-19 test to a child at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas, US, on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

Enlarge / A health care worker administers a COVID-19 test to a child at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-thru vaccination and testing site in Austin, Texas, US, on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

COVID-19 cases in children have risen 30-fold since late June and are now at record highs, with nearly 500,000 new child cases reported in the past two weeks, according to the latest data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday. Pediatric cases have “increased exponentially,” the AAP said in a statement.

The rise coincides with a dramatic surge in overall COVID-19 transmission driven by the hypertransmissible delta variant. But with more adults vaccinated, children are getting hit harder in this wave than ever before, and they make up a larger and larger share of the cases.

At this point, the US has recorded 5.3 million cumulative cases in children, accounting for 15.5 percent of total cases in the pandemic. That percentage has risen steadily during the current surge, up from 14.2 percent at the end of June.

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Pediatricians push for speedy COVID vaccines for kids—but no jumping the gun

A kid gets a cotton swab shoved up his nose.

Enlarge / PALOS VERDES ESTATES, CA – AUGUST 24: A father helps his 4-year-old son with the swab for a rapid COVID-19 test. (credit: Getty | MediaNews Group)

After Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine earned full regulatory approval Monday, pressure is mounting to have the vaccine available to children under 12 years old—and so are concerns that it will be given to them prematurely.

The approval from the Food and Drug Administration covers use of the vaccine in people ages 16 and up, while the agency’s Emergency Use Authorization still allows for its use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15. Some experts expect the FDA will grant full approval for use in 12- to 15-year-olds relatively soon.

But many parents and pediatricians are most eager for the green light to offer the vaccine to children under 12. Vaccinating young children has become a particularly pressing issue with the wild spread of the hypertransmissible delta variant, new school terms beginning, disputes over masks, and big holidays just around the corner. In a letter sent to the FDA earlier this month, the American Academy of Pediatrics urged the agency to authorize the vaccine for children under 12 “as swiftly as possible.”

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Why the Coronavirus More Often Strikes Children of Color

Children in minority communities are much more likely to become infected and severely ill. Many have parents who are frontline workers, experts say.

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Schools Reopening: Teachers Fearful, Angry Over Pressure to Return

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CDC to issue new guidelines on reopening schools after Trump blowup

Children sit at desks while wearing clear masks.

Enlarge / Schoolchildren wearing protective mouth masks and face shields attend a course in their classroom at Claude Debussy college in Angers, western France, on May 18, 2020, after France eased lockdown measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus. (credit: Damien Meyer / AFP / Getty Images)

On the heels of criticism from President Trump, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is planning to release updated guidance documents outlining how schools can safely reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the upcoming documents Wednesday, just hours after Trump took to Twitter to blast the agency’s current guidelines.

“Well, the president said today, we just don’t want the guidance to be too tough,” Pence said in a press briefing for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “That’s the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.”

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Why A.A.P. Guidelines Are Pushing for Schools to Reopen This Fall

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