Children and COVID: New Cases Took a Downturn in September

Richard Franki

September 13, 2022

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

After 2 weeks of increases in the number of new COVID-19 cases in children — a trend that just happened to coincide with the start of a new school year — there were fewer cases reported during the first full week of September, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association.

Data available from state and territorial health departments show that just over 83,000 new child COVID cases were reported between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, a drop of about 8% from the previous week, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report, noting also that seven states and the District of Columbia no longer update their online dashboards while others publish new data less often than every week.

 

The drop in new cases was accompanied by declines in emergency department visits and hospital admissions, both of which had shown some signs of resurgence in mid- to late August. The brief rise in ED visits seemed to be age-related, occurring in those aged 12 years and older but not in younger children, whose ED visit rate fell steadily through August. Through the first week of September, however, 7-day averages were down for both those aged 12-15 and for 16- to 17-year-olds, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

The rate of new hospital admissions of children with confirmed COVID-19, available only for ages 0-17 years, has declined every day since Aug. 28, when it reached 0.44 per 100,000 population after a week of climbing, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

Cumulatively, about 156,000 children were hospitalized with COVID from Aug. 1, 2020 to Sept. 10, 2022, according to the CDC, which puts the total number of pediatric cases at just over 15 million and deaths at 1,778. Those last two figures represent 17.4% and about 0.4% of all U.S. cases and deaths. The AAP and CHA estimate that about 14.6 million child cases have been reported so far, which is 18.4% of cases in all ages.

Vaccinations Are Slowly Adding Up

On the prevention side of the health care system's response to COVID, the CDC's cumulative numbers looked like this as of Sept. 6:

  • 1.1 million children under age 5 (about 5.8% of the age group) had received at least one dose of vaccine, and 280,000 (1.4%) were fully vaccinated.

  • Almost 11 million (38.2%) children aged 5-11 had gotten one dose, and 8.9 million (31.1%) were fully vaccinated.

  • 17.9 million (70.8%) children aged 12-17 had received at least one dose, and 15.3 million (60.5%) were fully vaccinated.

Over the 14 days ending Sept. 7, children aged 2-4 years made up the largest group (21.4%) of Americans getting their first vaccine doses, while those aged 5-11 years were the third largest age group at 16.7% of all vaccinees (25- to 49-year-olds were second). The situation was reversed for vaccine completion over the last 2 weeks: Those aged 5-11 were first at 24.7%, and the 2- to 4-year-olds were third at 16.7% (those aged 25-49 were second again), according to the COVID Data Tracker.

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

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