Children and COVID-19: 7 Million Cases and Still Counting

Richard Franki

December 07, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Total COVID-19 cases in children surpassed the 7-million mark as new cases rose slightly after the previous week's decline, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

 

The 133,000 new cases reported for the week ending Dec. 2 mark the 17th consecutive week that the count has exceeded 100,000 and brought the cumulative national count to 7.03 million since the start of the pandemic, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report. New cases had dropped the previous week after 3 straight weeks of increases since late October.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the total number of child COVID-19 cases at 6.2 million, but both estimates are based on all-age totals – 40 million for the CDC and 41 million for the AAP/CHA – that are well short of the CDC's latest cumulative figure, which is now just over 49 million, so the actual figures are undoubtedly higher.

Meanwhile, the 1-month anniversary of 5- to 11-year-olds' vaccine eligibility brought many completions: 923,000 received their second dose during the week ending Dec. 6, compared with 405,000 the previous week. About 16.9% (4.9 million) of children aged 5-11 have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine thus far, of whom almost 1.5 million children (5.1% of the age group) are now fully vaccinated, the CDC said on its COVID-19 Data Tracker.

The pace of vaccinations, however, is much lower for older children. Weekly numbers for all COVID-19 vaccinations, both first and second doses, dropped from 84,000 (Nov. 23-29) to 70,000 (Nov. 30 to Dec. 6), for those aged 12-17 years. In that group, 61.6% have received at least one dose and 51.8% are fully vaccinated, the CDC said.

The pace of vaccinations varies for younger children as well, when geography is considered. The AAP analyzed the CDC's data and found that 42% of all 5- to 11-year-olds in Vermont had received at least one dose as of Dec. 1, followed by Massachusetts (33%), Maine (30%), and Rhode Island (28%). At the other end of the vaccination scale are Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia, all with 4%, the AAP reported.

As the United States puts 7 million children infected with COVID-19 in its rear view mirror, another milestone is looming ahead: The CDC's current count of deaths in children is 974.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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