(WISH/CNN) — According to a new report, there has been a 90% spike in child COVID-19 cases in the United States over the last four weeks. As thousands of students started returning to classrooms this week, the report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows how easily children can get coronavirus.
There has been a 90% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in children in the US over the past four weeks, according to the report, published on Monday. The new report, expected to be updated weekly, said there were 179,990 new Covid-19 cases among US children between July 9 and Aug. 6.
“It’s not fair to say that this virus is completely benign in children,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases. “We have had 90 deaths in children in the US already in just a few months. Every year we worry about influenza in children and there are about 100 deaths in children from that every year. But, when we look at the short segment, the small percentage of children overall that have been infected, this is not… we can’t say that it is completely benign in children,”
Children make up just over 9% of the total cases in states that report cases by age, according to the report. At least 380,174 total child COVID-19 cases were reported as of Aug. 6. It still appears that severe symptoms are rare among children with COVID-19 infections.
The AAP has still called for an effective testing strategy so that communities can make well-informed choices about opening schools. O’Leary said multiple factors have led to an increase in the number of coronavirus infections in children in the past couple of weeks, including increased testing, increased movement among children and a rise in infection among the general population.
“When you see a lot more infections in the general population, you’re going to see a lot more infections in children,” O’Leary said. “We all have to take this virus seriously, including taking care of our children.”
Last week, a 7-year-old boy in Georgia died from drowning, secondary to seizure due to fever from coronavirus, a preliminary report says. In Florida, two teenagers died earlier this month, marking the state’s sixth and seventh coronavirus deaths among children 17 and under.
The new study, along with previous research, directly contradicts President Donald Trump’s claims that children are “almost immune” to COVID-19. While more classrooms are scheduled to reopen this week, some students who just started the school year must go back to virtual learning because of new infections among students and teachers.