Nearly 200,000 kids were diagnosed with Covid-19 during the month of October, bringing the pediatric case total over 850,000 since the start of the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reported.
“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone — including our children and adolescents,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP, in a statement. “This virus is highly contagious, and as we see spikes in many communities, children are more likely to be infected, too. We can help protect everyone in our communities by keeping our physical distance, wearing masks, and following other recommendations from our doctors and public health experts.”
Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases called the increase in cases “disturbing” and called for families to avoid holiday gathering wherever possible, “especially if there are high risk individuals in the household.”
Severe illness due to Covid-19 seems to be rare among children at this time, the AAP pointed out; however, the organization noted that there is an “urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.” For example, children face the potential specter of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a rare but serious condition that appears to be linked to Covid-19 infection.
“Not only are children feeling the direct effects of the virus and becoming ill, but the pandemic has transformed their lives at critical stages of development and education,” Goza noted. “I’m very concerned about the long-term harms that children may suffer, particularly Black and Hispanic children, who are suffering a higher number of infections. This includes not only children who test positive for the virus, but everyone in these communities who are suffering disproportionate emotional and mental health harms.”
The AAP added that, while the number of child Covid-19 cases has already reached “unprecedented levels,” the number is likely undercounted due to the mildness of symptoms in most children, which may lead to them not getting tested.
“On every measure — new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths — the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction,” Goza said. “We urge policymakers to listen to doctors and public health experts rather than level baseless accusations against them. Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have put their lives on the line to protect our communities. We can all do our part to protect them, and our communities, by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and getting our flu immunizations.”
John McKenna, Associate Editor, BreakingMED™
Cat ID: 138
Topic ID: 85,138,730,933,190,926,138,192,927,925,934