Soaring coronavirus case counts around the United States are impacting children at “unprecedented levels,” according to new numbers released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association, which are tracking data reported by state health departments.
There were 61,000 new cases in children during the last week of October, “which is larger than any previous week in the pandemic,” the AAP said in a statement.
From the onset of the pandemic through October 29, more than 853,000 children in the US have tested positive for Covid-19, the AAP said, including nearly 200,000 new cases during the month of October.
This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents,” said AAP President Dr. Sally Goza in the statement. “This virus is highly contagious, and as we see spikes in many communities, children are more likely to be infected, too.”
Yet these numbers are likely an undercount, the AAP said. Because symptoms in children are often mild and can look like common colds or viruses, many children go untested.
Typical symptoms of Covid-19 in both children and adults include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, a dry cough, difficulty breathing, headaches, digestive issues, body aches and fatigue, runny nose, sore throat and sneezing.
However, early research has suggested children may not get fever, cough or shortness of breath as often as adults.
Fever and cough were found in 56% and 54% of children in one study, compared to 71% and 80% of adults, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Shortness of breath was found in only 13% of pediatric patients, compared to 43% of adults. Sore throat, headache, muscle pain, fatigue and diarrhea were also less commonly reported in children.
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