US Surpasses 4 Million COVID Cases in Children

Even as the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to drop, the United States reached the 4-million mark for infected children, according to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

The total number of children with COVID-19 was 4,008,572 as of June 10 after just under 14,500 new cases were reported over the preceding week. That weekly total, the lowest since June of 2020, comes from 49 states (excluding N.Y.), the District of Columbia, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Guam, the AAP and CHA said in their weekly COVID-19 report.

Children represent 14.1% of all COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, while the corresponding figure for the week ending June 10 was 19.0%. That weekly proportion of cases among children had been rising pretty steadily through the winter and early spring, but the situation has become much more volatile over the last month, the AAP/CHA data show.

Use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children aged 16-17 years, of course, didn’t begin until April, and the vaccine wasn’t authorized for children aged 12-15 years until mid-May. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have not received such authorization yet, but Moderna is in the process of seeking an emergency-use recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration.

In the younger group of children who are currently eligible, completion of the vaccine regimen took a big jump in the week ending June 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cumulative share of those aged 12-15 years who had received a second dose jumped from 4.1% on June 7 to 11.4% on June 14, with comparable numbers for 16- and 17-year-olds coming in at 26.4% and 29.1%.

Activity over just the last 14 days, however, shows a slight decrease in children aged 12-15 getting a first dose: For just the 2 weeks ending June 7, 17.9% of all children in the age group initiated a first dose, but for the 14 days ending June 14, only 17.1% of the age group did so, the CDC said on its COVID Data Tracker site.

For children aged 16-17 years – of whom less than 30% have reached full vaccination – activity seems to have stagnated: 4.8% of all 16- to 17-year-olds initiated a first vaccination during the 14 days ending June 7, compared with 4.7% who did so during the 14 days ending June 14, the CDC reported.

Older age groups with higher completion rates are still producing greater vaccine initiation. As of June 14, those aged 25-39 years had a completion rate of 41.9% and 24.0% of the age group had received a first dose in the previous 2 weeks, while 61.4% of those aged 50-64 were fully vaccinated, and 18.0% had gotten their first dose, the CDC data indicate.