Children and COVID: Weekly Cases Drop to Lowest Level Since April

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A hefty decline in new COVID-19 cases among children resulted in the lowest weekly total since late April, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

The 60,300 new COVID cases reported during the week of Sept. 9-15 were down by almost 28%, compared with the previous week’s 83,000, making for 2 consecutive weeks of declines after almost 91,000 cases were recorded for the week ending Sept. 1, the AAP and CHA said in their latest COVID report of state-level data.



The last time the weekly count was under 60,000 came during the week of April 22-28, when 53,000 were reported by state and territorial health departments in the midst of a 7-week stretch of rising cases. Since that streak ended in mid-May, however, “reported weekly cases have plateaued, fluctuating between a low, now of 60,300 cases and a high of about 112,000,” the AAP noted.

Emergency department visits and hospital admissions, which showed less fluctuation over the summer and more steady rise and fall, have both dropped in recent weeks and are now approaching late May/early June rates, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Sept. 15, for example, ED visits for children under 12 years with diagnosed COVID were just 2.2% of all visits, lower than at any time since May 19 and down from a summer high of 6.8% in late July. Hospital admissions for children aged 0-17 years also rose steadily through June and July, reaching 0.46 per 100,000 population on July 30, but have since slipped to 0.29 per 100,000 as of Sept. 17, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker.

Vaccination Continues to Be a Tough Sell

Vaccination activity among the most recently eligible age group, in the meantime, remains tepid. Just 6.0% of children under age 5 had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine as of Sept. 13, about 3 months since its final approval in June, and 1.6% were fully vaccinated. For the two older groups of children with separate vaccine approvals, 31.5% of those aged 5-11 years and 43.3% of those aged 12-15 had received at least one dose 3 months after their vaccinations began, the CDC data show.

In the 2 weeks ending Sept. 14, almost 59,000 children under age 5 received their initial COVID-19 vaccine dose, as did 28,000 5- to 11-year-olds and 14,000 children aged 12-17. Children under age 5 years represented almost 20% of all Americans getting a first dose during Sept. 1-14, compared with 9.7% for those aged 5-11 and 4.8% for the 12- to 17-year-olds, the CDC said.

At the state level, children under age 5 years in the District of Columbia, where 28% have received at least one dose, and Vermont, at 24%, are the most likely to be vaccinated. The states with the lowest rates in this age group are Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, all of which are at 2%. Vermont and D.C. have the highest rates for ages 5-11 at 70% each, and Alabama (17%) is the lowest, while D.C. (100%), Rhode Island (99%), and Massachusetts (99%) are highest for children aged 12-17 years and Wyoming (41%) is the lowest, the AAP said in a separate report.

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

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