Coronavirus cases among children in the United States have reached the highest number reported since the beginning of the pandemic.
The U.S. reported more than 325,000 new cases among children for the week ending December 30, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Not only is the highest case count ever reported in children over the course of the pandemic, but it also represents nearly 18% of all COVID-19 cases reported last week, according to the AAP. It’s a 64% increase in child cases from the previous week and nearly double the case count from two weeks earlier.
“For the 21st week in a row child COVID-19 cases are above 100,000,” the AAP said. “Since the first week of September, there have been over 2.8 million additional child cases.”
An average of 672 children per day were admitted to hospitals for COVID treatment for the week ending January 2, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children, the AAP said more data is needed to understand how the virus affects kids, especially as new variants like the highly transmissible omicron emerge.
“There is an urgent need to collect more data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects,” the AAP said.
Since the start of the pandemic, 7.9 million children in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID, which represents 17.4% of all cases. About 1,045 children age 17 and under have died from the virus, according to the CDC.
Numbers released by the White House in December show that, since it was made available to children aged 5-12, more than 2 million American children have gotten the COVID vaccine.
Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration expanded COVID-19 boosters for children as young as 12. The agency also expanded the primary series of shots for certain immunocompromised children, ages 5 to 11. The FDA’s decision must be approved by the CDC, which is expected by the end of the week.