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Child COVID-19 Cases Surpass 1.1M per Week, AAP says

January 27, 2022

While the Omicron wave shows signs of peaking in regions of the country, reported cases of COVID-19 among children continue to rise, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said this week.

More than 1.1 million children were diagnosed with the virus during the week ending January 20, according to a report from the AAP and the Children’s Hospital Association. This is a 17 percent increase over the prior week and double the case counts from the two weeks prior, the AAP noted.

“As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, cases of COVID-19 among children and adolescents are the highest they have ever been,” said Moira Szilagyi, MD, PhD, FAAP, the 2022 president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “These numbers are staggering. It’s more important than ever that we all continue to practice the prevention strategies we know are most effective.”

Children represented about 26 percent of weekly cases during the week ending January 20.  Among the notable takeaways from the AAP report:

  • Public health precautions:  Wearing masks in public, isolating when sick, and getting vaccinated when eligible are critical to help contain the spread of the virus and protect those who are most vulnerable
  • Record reports for cases:  More than 10.6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than two million of these cases were added during the past 2 weeks. In Pennsylvania, there were about 34,000 cases reported among children under 18 during the week ending January 18, state records show
  • Hospitalizations:  Severe COVID-19 cases resulting in hospitalization in children are rare. Among states reporting, children ranged from 1.7% to 4.4% of total cumulated hospitalizations. Between 0.1% and 1.5% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization
  • Vaccines for children under 5:  Studies from Pfizer-BioNTech are continuing to evaluate the efficacy of the vaccine in children in this age group. Timing for review from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not been announced

During a weekly media briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House’s Chief Medical Advisor, said the FDA would be “scrupulous” in its review of the COVID-19 vaccine for young children. The vaccine would likely be a three-dose regimen, but the studies are continuing, he said.

“I don’t think we can predict when we will see an emergency use authorization (EUA) with that, because the company is still putting the data before the FDA,” he said this week.

In Pennsylvania, about 31 percent of children between 5 and 11 have received the initial dose of the vaccine, according to AAP analysis. About 64 percent of children between 12 and 17 have received their initial dose, as well.

The report on pediatric COVID-19 cases and other trends is available online.