Last week, nearly one million COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. were children.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), numbers show that over 981,000 child cases were reported during that week. That is 69 percent more than the previous week’s 580,000 cases. This spike, the outlet said, is “four times the rate of the peak of last winters’ surge.”
However, AAP indicated that the new case count might not represent the definite number of COVID-19 cases in children since many of them aren’t tested due to test shortage or are tested with rapid tests at home.
The rise reflected the new rapidly-spread strain of COVID-19, Omicron, and not the idea that children are more vulnerable to the virus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Omicron was more aggressive than the original strain of COVID-19.
Ironically, the Omicron variant proved to be milder amongst children below age five, said a CDC study. The study also showed that compared to kids infected with the Delta variant, those infected with Omicron experienced 70 percent fewer hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions.
In addition, the study showed that Black children were disproportionately affected by both the variants, but most notably, Omicron. Over 25 percent of them were infected with the virus. Yet, under 15 percent of Black kids were in contact with the health care system during the same time as other groups.
Dr. Sarah Ash Combs, an emergency room doctor at Children’s National in D.C., said that most children hospitalized there due to COVID-19 are Black. It has also been reported that a majority African American ward in D.C., Ward 8, saw the most cases of the virus in the entire district and said the lowest vaccination rates there.
In total, almost 9.5 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic started, AAP said.