Children now make up more than a quarter of new weekly Covid-19 cases across the United States, says a paediatric group.
Youngsters represent 26.8 per cent of weekly cases nationwide, according to the data released by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The AAP’s update comes as most children in the US have returned or are about to return to school after the summer break and virus experts have advised adults to get vaccinated to protect children under the age of 12 in the classroom.
“If we want to protect the children, particularly those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, you want to surround the children with people who are vaccinated – teachers, school personnel, everyone else,” said DrAnthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Tuesday.
The AAP data states that there were 251,781 child cases of Covid-19, out of 939,470 total cases recorded between 26 August and 2 September.
In the previous two weeks to that, children had represented 22 per cent of weekly reported cases.
The definition of a child varies from state to state, but it generally includes those youngsters up the age of 17 or 18.
“After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with over 750,000 cases added between August 5 and September 2,” stated the AAP.
The body said that despite the increase in cases, severe illness caused by Covid-19 is still not common among children.
“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,” said the AAP.
More than 5 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 during the pandemic, around 15.1 per cent of all cases in the US.
Overall the country has seen 40.2 million cases, and more than 650,000 deaths.