Kids’ COVID-19 cases continue to rise in US

The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP’s) latest numbers on US pediatric COVID-19 cases once again show a significant rise in confirmed cases in patients under 18.

More than 243,000 child COVID-19 cases were reported from Sep 2 to Sep 9, representing 28.9% of weekly reported US COVID-19 cases, the second highest weekly total for pediatric cases in the pandemic.

“After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with nearly 500,000 cases in the past 2 weeks,” the AAP said. Children represent 15.5% of all US COVID-19 cases.

The 7-day average of new daily US COVID-19 cases is 164,475, according to the Washington Post tracker. Yesterday, the country recorded 172,404 cases, including 1,827 deaths according to the New York Times tracker.

By today, almost all public and private grade and high schools in the country have resumed in-person learning, but only adolescents ages 12 and older are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. The AAP, along with other health associations, has requested that the Food and Drug Administration authorize vaccine use in younger children as soon as possible.

Southern ICUs fill

In Alabama, all intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied. Texas has only 700 ICU beds left. And more than 20 Florida hospitals reported that ICU patients have outnumbered beds in the past week.

One in four hospitals in the South now reports more than 95% of ICU beds occupied, up from one in five last month, the New York Times reports. 

Southern states were the hardest hit in this summer’s surge of virus activity, due in part to low vaccination coverage in many counties.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published last week showed that unvaccinated Americans are 10 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than are vaccinated Americans.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 53.9% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 63.2% have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Medical professionals support boosters

A new Medscape poll shows that 71% of US physicians and 66% of nurses believe available evidence supports a booster shot for people who’ve already had two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.

This is in direct contrast to an editorial published yesterday in The Lancet, which suggested there is not enough evidence for boosters, and vaccinating the world’s unvaccinated population is a better use of resources to end the pandemic.

In the Medscape poll, there was considerable difference among older and younger respondents: 74% of physicians and 70% of nurses aged 55 and older said they believed the evidence supports boosters. Only 61% of doctors and 56% of nurses under 55 agreed.

Other US developments

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is threatening to fine local governments that require their employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the Associated Press reports.
  • A federal judge on Monday issued a temporary restraining order on Iowa’s law that bars schools from requiring masks, according to Axios.
  • New York City on Monday began enforcing its vaccination requirements for restaurant patrons and employees, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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