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Susan Stevens Martin

The surge in COVID-19 cases across the country is impacting children in unprecedented levels, according to data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association, which are tracking data reported by state health departments.

As of Oct. 29, more than 853,000 children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, including nearly 200,000 new cases in children during the month of October. In the one-week period ending Oct. 29, there were 61,000 new cases in children, which is larger than any previous week in the pandemic.

“This is a stark reminder of the impact this pandemic is having on everyone – including our children and adolescents,” said AAP President Sally Goza, MD, FAAP. “This virus is highly contagious, and as we see spikes in many communities, children are more likely to be infected, too. We can help protect everyone in our communities by keeping our physical distance, wearing masks, and following other recommendations from our doctors and public health experts.”

At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, the AAP notes an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts 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.

"Not only are children feeling the direct effects of the virus and becoming ill, but the pandemic has transformed their lives at critical stages of development and education,” Dr. Goza said. “I’m very concerned about the long-term harms that children may suffer, particularly Black and Hispanic children, who are suffering a higher number of infections. This includes not only children who test positive for the virus, but everyone in these communities who are suffering disproportionate emotional and mental health harms.”

The data are compiled each week by AAP and CHA from reports by public health departments of 49 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The definition of a “child” case is based on varying age ranges reported across states; see the full report for an age breakdown and links to data sources.

“These numbers reflect a disturbing increase in cases throughout most of the United States in all populations, especially among young adults," said Yvonne Maldonado, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases. “We are entering a heightened wave of infections around the country.  We would encourage family holiday gatherings to be avoided if possible, especially if there are high risk individuals in the household.”

The AAP believes the number of reported COVID-19 cases in children is likely an undercount because children’s symptoms are often mild and they may not be tested for every illness.

“On every measure – new infections, hospitalizations, and deaths – the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction,” Dr. Goza said. “We urge policymakers to listen to doctors and public health experts rather than level baseless accusations against them. Physicians, nurses and other health care professionals have put their lives on the line to protect our communities. We can all do our part to protect them, and our communities, by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, and getting our flu immunizations.”

The report on child COVID-19 cases is updated every week, usually on Monday.

AAP resources include:


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds

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