Nearly 100,000 children in the U.S. infected with coronavirus in just two weeks

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Nearly 1,00,000 (97,078 to be specific) children were infected with novel coronavirus in just two weeks during the period July 16-30. There were 20 deaths during this time. The cumulative number of children who have tested positive stands at 3,38,982, accounting for 8.8% of all cases.

Abandon the notion that children are less likely to be infected with novel coronavirus. Data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics show that nearly 1,00,000 (97,078 to be specific) cases in just two weeks in end July — July 16-30. There were 20 deaths during this time period.

The age range for children differed by States — with Florida included those in the age group 0-14 years as children, while Alabama pushed the age group further up by counting all those in the age group 0-24 as children. Most States were reporting data for children in the age group 0-19 years.

The cumulative number of children who have tested positive stands at 3,38,982. The number of cases in children represent 8.8% of all cases. According to AAP, the overall rate is 447 cases per 100,000 children in the population.

However, children were more likely to have mild or no symptoms. Based on the data from 20 States and New York City, children accounted for 0.6%-3.7% of total reported hospitalisations, and between 0.6%-8.9% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in hospitalisation

Mortality among children is even less, with total deaths so far standing at 86. During the two weeks between July 16 and July 30, 20 children died.

Children are equally infective

A study undertaken in South Korea found that household contacts of children had higher rate of getting infected than even adults. According to the study published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, 18.6% of household contacts of child index cases got infected. The study also found that for “most age groups, COVID-19 was detected in significantly more household than nonhousehold contacts”.

They also found that household contacts of school-aged children had the highest rate of infection (18.6%) compared with household contacts of children 0-9 years age group “in the middle of school closure”.

“A contact survey in Wuhan and Shanghai, China, showed that school closure and social distancing significantly reduced the rate of COVID-19 among contacts of school-aged children,” they write.

Data from China makes a strong case for closing schools to limit the spread of the virus. In Shenzhen, China, the proportion of infected children increased during the outbreak from 2% to 13%, the study says.

Younger children carry higher viral load

Another study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found children younger than five years harbouring more viral RNA in the upper respiratory tract than adults and even older children. The amount of coronavirus RNA could be 10- to 100-fold more in younger children than adults, they say. However, the researchers only looked for viral RNA and not for live, infectious virus itself.