More than 1 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with Covid-19, according to a report released Monday.
As of last Thursday, a total of 1,039,464 young people, including infants and teens, had tested positive for the coronavirus. The weekly report on pediatric cases is a collaboration between the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, and uses state health department data to track pediatric cases nationwide.
"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic," Dr. Sally Goza, president of the AAP, said in a statement. "We haven’t seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio."
The new numbers also reflect the largest one-week increase in pediatric Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began. Last week alone, nearly 112,000 children were diagnosed. Pediatricians believe the true number of children infected with the virus is much higher, because the illness is often mild in kids and may go undetected.
The geographic breakdown illustrating the rise in cases among children mirrors that of adults. Pediatric cases are spiking in the Midwest. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin each have reported more than 25,000 cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
In Southeastern states, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia and both of the Carolinas have also each logged more than 25,000 pediatric cases. Elsewhere in the country, only Arizona and California have met that threshold.
While severe complications are rare among children, they are possible. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 1,163 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a serious condition linked to Covid-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. Twenty of those children have died.
Overall in the pandemic, the AAP said the number of pediatric Covid-19 deaths has reached 133. That is a fraction — 0.06 percent — of the total number of U.S. deaths.
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The AAP is also pushing for public health officials to study the long-term impacts of the coronavirus on kids' lives, including emotional and mental effects of the pandemic.
"We know from research on the impact of natural disasters on the mental health of children that prolonged exposure to this kind of toxic stress is damaging," Goza said.
"Most natural disasters have an end, but this pandemic has gone on for over eight months, and is likely to continue to disrupt our lives for many more."