A large container of hand sanitizer sits on a desk for students to use in Second Grade instructor Marisela Sahagun’s classroom at St Joseph Catholic School in La Puente, California on 16 November 2020 (AFP via Getty Images)
More than one million children have now been diagnosed with coronavirus in the US, amid a rise in daily cases in young people across the country.
By Thursday, at least 1,039,464 young people, including teenagers and infants, had tested positive for Covid-19 in the US, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA).
The two institutions publish a weekly report on paediatric Covid-19 cases, using state health department data to collate the number of positive coronavirus tests nationally, according to NBC News.
In a statement on Monday, Dr Sally Goza, president of the AAP, warned: “As a paediatrician who has practised medicine for over three decades, I find this number staggering and tragic.”
Dr Goza added: “We haven’t seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio.”
The past week also saw the largest one-week increase in paediatric Covid-19 cases in the US.
At least 112,000 children were diagnosed with coronavirus last week, but experts believe that the number is higher, as a majority of children are asymptomatic and are therefore not tested, according to NBC.
That figure is a dramatic increase from the record-setting 61,000 new cases just two weeks before.
California, Florida and Texas have all reported more than 25,000 paediatric cases each since the pandemic began. All three states’ adult populations have also been badly affected by the virus.
Coronavirus deaths in children are rare, as figures from the AAP and the CHA show that just up to 0.14 per cent of all child Covid-19 cases in the US have resulted in death.
Although child coronavirus cases are rising across the US, 16 states are yet to report any Covid-19 related deaths in young people.
Dr Goza added that the AAP wants public health officials to study the long term effects of coronavirus in children.
She said: “We know from research on the impact of natural disasters on the mental health of children that prolonged exposure to this kind of toxic stress is damaging.”
Dr Goza added: “Most natural disasters have an end, but this pandemic has gone on for over eight months, and is likely to continue to disrupt our lives for many more.”
According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 11.1 million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 246,758.
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