Story at a glance
- More than 1 million children have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the onset of the pandemic, officials say.
- Children have tended to present asymptomatically, but severe cases have occurred.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association estimate that more than 1 million children under the age of 18 have contracted a COVID-19 infection since the start of the pandemic.
CNN reports that the institutions estimate a total of 1,039,464 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic in the U.S.
“In the one-week period ending Nov. 12, there were 111,946 new cases in children, which is substantially larger than any previous week in the pandemic," the groups reportedly said in a joint statement. "The increase tracks surges in the virus in communities across the U.S."
As the nation is well into fall weather, the U.S. has recorded record-breaking new COVID-19 cases across the majority of the country, prompting states ranging from Michigan to Washington to implement stronger public health protocols.
"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic," Sally Goza, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told CNN. "We haven't seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio."
Historically, children have largely been asymptomatic patients, meaning they do not show the typical symptoms of a COVID-19 infection seen in many adults. Earlier in the pandemic, some children developed a multisystem inflammatory infection, but experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not know exactly what causes it.
Other common symptoms in children include a fever, chills, cough, nasal congestion, loss of taste or smell, muscular aches and lethargy.
In a bid to reduce transmission rates, many schools across the country are conducting class remotely.
A study published in August found that 52 percent of U.S. students will attend school virtually, with only 25 percent attending in person every day. The remaining 19 percent will be learning in a hybrid model of remote and in-person learning.
"This pandemic is taking a heavy toll on children, families and communities, as well as on physicians and other front-line medical teams,” Goza stated. “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."
Currently, there are have been more than 11.2 million total cases reported in the U.S. since the onset of the pandemic.