Keeping an Eye on Pediatric COVID-19 Cases

Infection Control TodayInfection Control Today, October 2021 (Vol. 25 No. 7)
Volume 25
Issue 8

Officials with the American Academy of Pediatrics stress that there’s no need for alarm but they do urge that more data be collected concerning children and COVID-19 infection, and they also note that there’s still no vaccine for youngsters 5–12.

A joint report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association indicates that 243,373 children were infected with COVID-19 from September 2 to September 9, 2021. From August 26 to September 9, 2021, there was a 10% increase in reported cases for children.1 (The definition of “child” varies from state to state but in all 49 states reporting, the age starts at 0 years. The higher-end cutoff age varies and can be anywhere from 14 to 20 years.) Children represent 15.5% of all cases in the pandemic up until this point. At present, there are no vaccines for children aged 5 to 12 years.

“At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children,” the AAP stated in a press release about the study.2 “However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects.”

In the 11 states reporting testing, children made up from 11.1% to 21.6% of the total cumulated tests, which showed that from 4.9% to 17.8% of children tested positive. Twenty-four states reported hospitalizations, and children accounted for 1.6% to 4% of the total cumulated hospitalizations.

Pediatricians are especially keeping a close eye on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MIS-C, “is a condition[in which] different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.” The CDC admits that it does not “yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.”

Linda Spaulding, RN-BC, CIC, CHEC, CHOP, a member of Infection Control Today®’sEditorial Advisory Board, warns that it’s a mistake to underestimate the harm COVID-19 can do to younger people.

“People keep [saying], ‘Well, the young kids [will] get it. They’ll get over it. It’s no big deal.’ But that’s not the reality of it. There are many young kids that have got COVID-19 and are now dealing with what they’re calling long-haulers disorder. And that’s when they do have heart damage or they have lung damage.”

She added that the disease “can be fatal in kids.”


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Hospital Association. Children and COVID-19: state data report. September 2, 2021. Accessed September 8, 2021.
  2. Children and COVID-19: state-level data report. AAP. Updated September 7, 2021. Accessed September 7, 2021.

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