COVID-19 cases in children are continuing to decline, according to the latest data from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
About 130,000 cases were reported in the week ending October 14, representing a 12 percent drop from the previous week, when about 148,000 cases were reported.
Currently, kids make up about one in four Covid cases recorded in the U.S. last week and 16.4 percent overall.
Overall, Tennessee has seen the highest rate of Covid cases in under-18s (16,000 total cases for every 100,000 children) while Puerto Rico has seen the lowest (4,600 total cases per 100,000).
Children between ages five and 11 may soon have the opportunity to be vaccinated against Covid with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expected to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for this age group in early November.
However, many parents are hesitant about vaccinating kids because they rarely get severely ill and make up less than 0.1 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
Covid cases in children are continuing to decline, according to a new report. Pictured: A young resident of Ferguson, Missouri receives her Covid shot, August 2021
The U.S. reported about 130,000 new cases in children last week, down 12% from the week prior, when 148,000 cases were reported
When schools across the U.S. opened for in-person learning this fall, this reopening coincided with the Delta variant surge – which was already driving higher cases in children.
During the week ending September 2, more than 250,000 children were diagnosed with Covid.
In some parts of the country, school districts were barred from instituting mask mandates or other safety measures in schools – contributing to uncontrolled Covid spread.
But now, as the Delta surge wanes, Covid case numbers in children have also been declining.
A total of 130,575 cases were recorded in the week ending October 14, according to the latest report from the AAP and Children’s Hospital Association.
This represents a drop of 11.9 percent from the week ending October 7, when 148,222 cases were reported.
It’s also a drop of almost 50 percent since the week ending September 2, when the highest number of Covid cases in children was reported.
Children represent 25.5 percent of all Covid cases reported in the U.S. in the past week.
AAP researchers regularly compile national reports on Covid cases in children based on data from 49 states, New York City, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam.
The latest report does not include up-to-date case numbers for Texas, Nebraska, and Alabama due to a lack of available state-level data in these states.
In addition, the AAP researchers note that age ranges differ from state to state. In some states, child case counts include state residents up to age 20, while in others, counts include residents up to age 17 or 18.
Still, the AAP reports allow state-by-state comparisons of Covid case rates in children.
South Carolina and Tennessee have reported the highest shares of Covid cases among children, out of their total state Covid cases
In the week ending October 14, about one in four U.S. Covid cases occurred in children
Tennessee has the highest case rate at about 16,100 total Covid cases for every 100,000 children.
That’s almost double the national case rate of 8,200 cases for every 100,000 kids.
South Carolina has the next-highest rate, at 15,600 total Covid cases for every 100,000 children.
Alaska, West Virginia, and North Dakota also have some of the highest rates of cases in children – at 14,800, 14,200, and 13,600 cases for every 100,000 children, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, Puerto Rico has seen just 4,600 total cases for every 100,000 children.
Puerto Rico has the highest vaccination rate in the country, with almost 100 percent of seniors fully vaccinated.
Currently, children aged 12 and older are approved to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The company has asked the FDA to authorize its shot for kids, with a lower dose specifically designated for younger ages.
On October 26, the FDA’s vaccine advisory committee is set to discuss this potential authorization – meaning younger children could be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Yet parents are split about 50/50 on whether or not to vaccinate their children.
One survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, conducted in April 2021, found that just 29 percent of parents with children under age 18 said they would get their child vaccinated ‘right away’ once authorization occurred.
One-third of parents (32 percent) said that they would ‘wait and see’ how the vaccine was working for kids before vaccinating their child.
About 15 percent said that they would only get their child vaccinated if it was required for school, and 19 percent said they definitely would not get their child vaccinated.
While the summer surge of cases in children may have shifted attitudes for some parents, many remain hesitant about vaccinating their children.
Surveys suggest that conversations with pediatricians and other doctors will be important in communicating the benefits and risks of Covid vaccines to parents.