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COVID-19 in Children

New data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association shows that more than 97,000 US children tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks of July, representing 8.8% of coronavirus infections in the United States. Southern and western states accounted for more than 70 percent of these infections. In total, 338,982 infections in children have been reported since the pandemic began 6 months ago.

Children below age 10 appear to have lower susceptibility to infection compared to adults, but older children appear to have the same risk. Infected children have detectable viral loads and shed virus in similar amounts to adults, which might indicate that the risk of transmission is similar across age groups. Transmission from child-to-child and child-to-adult has been documented.

Compared to adults, children who contract COVID-19 are more likely to experience asymptomatic infection or mild upper respiratory symptoms. Ninety percent of children testing positive have no or mild symptoms. Although children under the age 8 comprise 22% of the U.S. population, they represent only 0.6% to 3.7% of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations and 0% to 0.8% of recorded COVID19 deaths.

CDC recently reviewed 576 pediatric hospitalizations in 14 states that were associated with COVID-19. Hispanic and black children had the highest admission rates. Information on underlying medical conditions was available for 222 of 576 children. The most prevalent conditions included obesity, chronic lung disease and prematurity. One third of the children developed severe disease requiring admission to the intensive care unit and 6% required invasive mechanical ventilation.

From March to July, nearly 600 young people in the United States, ranging from infants to age 20 have been diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). A future blog will cover MIS-C in more detail.


American Academy of Pediatrics, Children and COVID-19: State Data Report,

Kim L. etal. Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Children Aged <18 Years Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1–July 25, 2020,

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