Using state and local data, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association found that there have been nearly 500,000 coronavirus infections among children since the start of the pandemic. The findings were for known coronavirus cases through September 3.
Children comprise nearly 9.8% of all COVID-19 cases, the report found.
The report found that as of September 3, 4,321 children have been hospitalized by the virus, comprising 1.7% of all coronavirus-related hospitalizations. Hospital data only covered 23 states and NYC.
Children made up .07% of coronavirus deaths, with 103 children reportedly dying from COVID-19 related illnesses. Mortality data was unavailable for seven states.
So far in 2020, there have been 190,000 coronavirus-related deaths, and public health experts expect the number of fatalities to increase through the rest of the year.
While the coronavirus has proven to be much more deadly for adults, especially seniors, it appears to be less deadly for children compared to influenza. According to CDC data, an estimated 477 children died from the flu in 2018-19, a season when flu-related illnesses killed an estimated 34,157 across the US.
There were some inconsistencies in the coronavirus data, the report acknowledged, including how states define children. Also some states did not have hospital or mortality data.
While children have largely been spared the worst effects of the coronavirus, there are still questions on how easily children can spread the virus to others. That concern has prompted a number of school districts to continue with virtual learning at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
In July, a study released from South Korea and published by the CDC found that while children under age 9 were less likely to spread the virus, youth ages 10 through 19 were just as likely as adults to spread it.
The study also found that closing schools in several Chinese cities, including Wuhan, and social distancing significantly reduced the rate of COVID-19 among contacts of school-aged children.
“The role of household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 amid reopening of schools and loosening of social distancing underscores the need for a time-sensitive epidemiologic study to guide public health policy,” the researchers wrote.