More Than 1 Million U.S. Kids Have Tested Positive For COVID-19

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That number is likely to continue to climb as the nation heads into the holiday season.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in children has continued to rise across the United States. Data released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association revealed over million kids have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic first began.

“As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic," American Academy of Pediatrics President Sally Goza said in a statement released alongside Monday's report. "We haven’t seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio.”

As of Nov. 12, 1,039,464 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, according to an analysis of publicly reported data from 49 states, New York City, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association.

Pediatric COVID-19 cases have been rising steadily throughout the pandemic. In early April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported children under the age of 18 made up just 2,572 cases or 1.7% of the country's total COVID-19 cases. In early September, the nation's total number of pediatric COVID-19 cases was reported to be just over half a million. By the end of October, that number had risen to 853,635 children or 11.1% of the country's total cases. Now, however, children represent 11.5% of all COVID-19 cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics' most recent report.

With a vaccine suitable for children still a ways away, that number is, unfortunately, expected to continue to rise, making it vital, as Goza said, for everyone to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines. “While we wait for a vaccine to be tested and licensed to protect children from the virus that causes COVID-19, we must do more now to protect everyone in our communities," Goza said. "This is even more important as we approach winter, when people will naturally spend more time indoors where it is easier for the virus to be transmitted.”

While children are less likely to experience severe illness as a result of COVID-19, pediatricians and public health officials have repeatedly cautioned they're not altogether immune from the virus. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said more research is needed to fully understand how the virus impacts children's physical and mental health in the long term.

With data from NBC News showing COVID-19 cases are currently on the rise in all 50 states, pediatricians have urged vigilance ahead of the holiday season. "We urgently need a new, nation-wide strategy to control the pandemic, and that should include implementing proven public health measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing,” Goza said. “This pandemic is taking a heavy toll on children, families, and communities, as well as on physicians and other front-line medical teams. We must work now to restore confidence in our public health and scientific agencies, create fiscal relief for families and pediatricians alike, and support the systems that support children and families such as our schools, mental health care, and nutrition assistance.”

If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.