WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — More than 500,000 U.S. children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of early September, with a sizable uptick seen in recent weeks, a new report reveals.

There were 70,630 new child cases reported between Aug. 20 and Sept. 3, 2020. That brings the total to 513,415 cases — a 16 percent increase over two weeks, according to state-by-state data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association. As of Sept. 3, children accounted for nearly 10 percent of all reported COVID-19 cases in the United States since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest weekly report from the two organizations.

“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” Sara Goza, M.D., president of the AAP, said in a press release. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities. A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children, and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities.”

“This rapid rise in positive cases occurred over the summer, and as the weather cools, we know people will spend more time indoors,” said Sean O’Leary, M.D., vice chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “The goal is to get children back into schools for in-person learning, but in many communities, this is not possible as the virus spreads unchecked.” With flu season approaching, it is important to “take this seriously and implement the public health measures we know can help,” O’Leary said. That includes wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, maintaining social distance, and getting a flu shot.

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