Data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association underscore the need for communities to double-down on efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus 

More than 513,000 U.S. children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association began tracking cases in the spring, according to the latest weekly report that compiles state-by-state data.

The AAP on Tuesday released a report that found 70,630 new child cases reported from Aug. 20 through Sept. 3, bringing the total to 513,415 cases in children, up from 442,785  —  a 16% increase in child cases over 2 weeks. The data — while limited because of its reliance on how each state reports its cases — underscores the urgent need to control the virus in communities before schools and businesses can reopen safely.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” said AAP President Sara “Sally” Goza, MD, FAAP. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities. A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.”

As of Sept. 3, 513,415 children and teens have tested positive for the virus and children represented 9.8% of all reported cases, according to researchers. Throughout the summer surges in the virus have occurred in Southern, Western and Midwestern states.

“This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” said Sean O’Leary, MD,  MPH, FAAP, vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The goal is to get children back into schools for in-person learning, but in many communities, this is not possible as the virus spreads unchecked.

“Now we are heading into flu season. We must take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help; that includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and maintaining social distance. In addition, it will be really important for everyone to get an influenza vaccine this year. These measures will help protect everyone, including children,” he said.

The report is updated every week, usually on Monday.

AAP resources include:

Source: American Academy of Pediatrics release, September 8, 2020