Kids represent 9.3% of US COVID cases but few serious ones

Taking temperature of young schoolgirl
Taking temperature of young schoolgirl

Dan Gaken / Flickr cc

In an update today on how the pandemic has affected US children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said about 9.3% of all COVID-19 patients so far are children, representing about 442,000 confirmed cases.

The overall rate of pediatric infection is 583 cases per 100,000 children in the population.

Though officials confirmed 74,160 new child cases in the second and third week of August, resulting in a 21% increase in child cases over 2 weeks, hospitalizations and fatalities among children are still rare, the AAP said.

Children were 0.4% to 4.6% of total reported hospitalizations, and between 0.2% and 8.6% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalization, the report said. And in states reporting mortality information, children represented 0% to 0.7% of fatalities.

Wyoming, Tennessee, New Mexico, Arkansas, and North Dakota reported the most pediatric infections, with 29 states total reporting that 10% or more cases in the past 2 weeks were in kids. New Jersey and New York City had the lowest rate of pediatric infections: 3.2% or less.

"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, states should continue to provide detailed reports on COVID-19 cases, testing, hospitalizations, and mortality by age so that the effects of COVID-19 on children's health can be documented and monitored," the AAP said.

The increase in pediatric cases occurs as much of the country sees the 2020-2021 school year start both virtually and in-person. In Florida, a judge has granted a temporary injunction against the state's order requiring state school districts to open during the pandemic, saying that safety concerns had been ignored, according to the Washington Post. Late last night, state officials filed an appeal.

In total, the US reported 38,045 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, and 450 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The new cases bring the national total to 5,759,147 cases and 177,873 deaths.

Hahn backtracks on plasma claims

On Twitter last night the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Stephen Hahn, MD, clarified his comments made Sunday that treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma led to a 35% reduction in mortality. Scientists on Twitter were quick to point out the real reduction was much smaller, about 3%.

"I have been criticized for remarks I made Sunday night about the benefits of convalescent plasma. The criticism is entirely justified," Hahn said. "What I should have said better is that the data show a relative risk reduction not an absolute risk reduction."

In an interview with Reuters yesterday, Hahn also rejected President Donald Trump's suggestion that there were "deep state" elements at work at the FDA, actively slowing down COVID-19 vaccine work to make the president look bad.

"I have not seen anything that I would consider to be 'deep state' at the FDA," Hahn said.

States attempt to track Sturgis bump

According to the Associated Press (AP), state health departments have reported 103 COVID-19 cases from people who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in early August in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and Washington, and are actively trying to gauge how far and wide infections from the event spread.

The event was held in Sturgis, South Dakota from Aug 7 to Aug 16, and drew thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from across the country. The event, which included rallies, shows, and an active nightlife scene, was not socially distanced and did not require masks.

Cell phone activity shows that 61% of US counties have been visited by someone who attended Sturgis, the AP said.

Other pandemic impacts

  • A new survey from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners shows 78% said they experienced significant delays in getting COVID-19 test results back, anywhere from 7 to 20 days.

  • The Ohio State University suspended 200 students for COVID-19 violations. The campus bans gatherings of 10 or more students on or off-campus.

  • A new Axios/Ipsos poll shows that only 31% of Americans trust Donald Trump for accurate information on COVID-19, compared to 46% who said they trust Joe Biden.

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