COVID-19 cases in children have risen 30-fold since late June and are now at record highs, with nearly 500,000 new child cases reported in the past two weeks, according to the latest data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday. Pediatric cases have “increased exponentially,” the AAP said in a statement.
The rise coincides with a dramatic surge in overall COVID-19 transmission driven by the super contagious delta variant. But with more adults vaccinated, children are getting hit harder in this wave than ever before, and they make up a larger and larger share of the cases.
At this point, the US has recorded 5.3 million cumulative cases in children, accounting for 15.5 percent of total cases in the pandemic. That percentage has risen steadily during the current surge, up from 14.2 percent at the end of June.
By late June, child cases had steeply declined and reached a low point, with children making up just about 10 percent of the total cases during the week ending on June 24.
Amid the delta surge, that weekly percentage shot up. In the week ending on September 9, children made up 29 percent of cases. For context, children (those under age 18) only make up 22.2 percent of the US population.
With the growing share of cases, raw totals in children are now at their highest levels ever in the pandemic. In the week ending on September 9, the US tallied 243,373 pediatric cases (from 49 states, plus New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam).
That weekly tally is second only to the previous week, ending on September 2, in which states reported 251,781 pediatric cases.