Children's Share of COVID-19 Burden Has Never Been Higher

Richard Franki

April 21, 2021

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For the first time since the pandemic began, children's share of weekly COVID-19 cases topped 20% in the United States, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.


New cases reported in children were up for the fourth time in 5 weeks, rising from 73,000 to over 88,000 for the week of April 9-15. That represented 20.6% of all new cases for the week, eclipsing the previous high of 19.1% recorded just 3 weeks ago, based on data collected by the AAP and CHA from 49 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

Cumulative cases of COVID-19 in children exceed 3.6 million in those jurisdictions, which is 13.6% of the total reported among all ages, and the overall rate of coronavirus infection is 4,824 cases per 100,000 children in the population, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report.

Among the 53 reporting jurisdictions, North Dakota has the highest cumulative rate, 9,167 per 100,000 children, followed by Tennessee (8,580), South Carolina (7,948), South Dakota (7,938), and Connecticut (7,707). Children's share of cumulative cases is highest in Vermont, at 21.9%, with Alaska next at 20.0% and Wyoming at 19.2%, the AAP and CHA said.

Since the beginning of April, the largest local increases in cases reported came in Michigan (21.6%), Vermont (15.9%), and Maine (15.6%). Nationally, the increase over those same 2 weeks is just under 5%, the two organizations noted.

There were 5 deaths among children during the week of April 9-15, bringing the total to 297, but the recent increases in cases have not affected the long-term trends for serious illness. The death rate for children with COVID-19 has been 0.01% since early November — 43 states, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam are reporting such data — and the hospitalization rate has been 0.8% since mid-January in 24 states and New York City, the AAP/CHA data show.

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