American Academy of Pediatrics says more kids are being diagnosed with COVID-19

COVID cases among children rising

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More children are being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States. A new report shows children make up more than 20% of new cases.

Early in the pandemic, it was thought that children were only carriers of the virus. Now know that children can not only transmit the virus, they can also become very sick from it.

Doctors say more children are being diagnosed with COVID now because steps to stop the spread are being relaxed.

A new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows nearly 89,000 children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last week, accounting for nearly 21% of cases in the U.S.

“We have to remember that this virus can infect anyone of any age group.”

Dr. Karen Landers, with the Alabama Department of Public Health, says about 2% of COVID cases in Alabama are among kids aged one to four, while those between the ages of 6 and 18 account for 9.6% of cases.

“Even though we have a decrease in cases and an increase in vaccines, persons who can’t be vaccinated, and to some extent, can’t really protect themselves with mitigation because they’re younger, are likely going to be more susceptible to the disease, and thus contract the disease,” Dr. Landers said.

No child between the ages of 5 and 17 has died of covid-19 in Alabama, but there were three infant deaths from COVID in the past year.

At least 297 children across the country have died from the virus, which is why Dr. Landers says we must do everything we can to protect our children.

“People…I know are tired of hearing me say social distancing, respiratory hygiene, good handwashing, good hand sanitizing and the use of a mask, but that’s what we have in children right now because we do not have a vaccine that is approved to be used under 16 years of age,” Dr. Landers said.

Drug maker Pfizer has asked the FDA for emergency use authorization for its vaccine in 12- to 15-year-olds, saying trials have shown 100% efficacy with no significant safety concerns.

Dr. Landers says we should hear more about whether that emergency use authorization will be granted in the coming weeks.

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