New Covid-19 cases among children in the US topped 1 million last week for the first time since the American Academy of Pediatrics began tracking cases, the group said today.
For the week ending Jan. 20, there were at least 1.15 million new cases, a rate that is nearly five times greater than the peak of last winter's surge, the group reported.
According to the group, children (who constitute 22% of the US population) now account for 25.5% of total reported weekly cases. Since the start of September, nearly 5.6 million new cases have been reported among children.
The group said it also marks the 24th consecutive week that more than 100,000 children have tested positive for the virus.
"As we approach the two-year anniversary of the pandemic, cases of Covid-19 among children and adolescents are the highest they have ever been," said Dr. Moira Szilagyi, the academy's president, in a statement. "These numbers are staggering."
Despite the sobering news, children are still statistically less likely than adults to be hospitalized with Covid-19, and data from states that report hospitalizations by age showed that rates of hospitalization were roughly the same last week as the week prior.
The group also reports that deaths continue to account for a small percentage of total cases among children, with 0.26% of cases resulting in death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that at least 1,140 children have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
However, the number of infections continues to rise due to the high rate of transmission of the Omicron variant and because children remain the least vaccinated of any age group, despite the fact that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is now eligible to those age 5 and older.