Children COVID-19 cases soar to highest numbers in the pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — New numbers show the impact of the pandemic on children. This week health experts said COVID-19 case numbers are the highest since the pandemic started.

According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, children testing positive for COVID-19 in the United States jumped 78% last week, with over 580,000 cases reported. There were 325,000 cases reported in the prior week ending on Dec. 30. However, these two weeks alone make up almost 11% of all the cases among children since the pandemic started. In total, the report said nearly 8.5 million kids have tested positive for the virus.

According to CNN, the U.S. is seeing a record number of hospitalizations for children under five years old and new admissions for children under 18 are averaging nearly 800 a day.

Now the CDC is urging vaccinations and booster shots for kids and teens 12-to-18 years old. The latest guidance said this age group should get boosted five months after their initial doses. Pfizer is the only approved vaccine for this age group.

Children 5 years old and under still aren’t eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC said the best way to keep these younger kids safe, is to vaccinate all eligible family members around them. Doctors said shots and testing are vital.

“The majority of kids who are eligible still haven’t received their first vaccinations either,” Dr. Yvonne Maldonado at Stanford University.

“If you want to get kids and teachers back in schools, the way to do that is a multi-pronged approach, including flooding our schools with testing,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner from George Washington University Medical Center.

In Indiana, some places like the Fishers Health Department are prioritizing testing students. However, something to keep in mind is that some of those at home rapid tests never go reported to the state and these numbers could actually be even higher.