Over one million children in US diagnosed with COVID-19

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A total of 1,039,464 children in the US have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Nov. 12, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association said in a statement on Monday.

During the one week period ending Nov. 12, there were 111,946 new coronavirus cases in children, which is substantially higher than any previous week recorded during the pandemic, it said.

“I find this number staggering and tragic. We haven’t seen a virus flash through our communities in this way since before we had vaccines for measles and polio,” said AAP President Sally Goza who has been a pediatrician for over three decades.

“And while we wait for a vaccine to be tested and licensed to protect children from the virus that causes COVID-19, we must do more now to protect everyone in our communities. This is even more important as we approach winter, when people will naturally spend more time indoors where it is easier for the virus to be transmitted,” she added.

There have been two successful vaccine candidates against COVID-19 in a week with American firm Moderna announcing earlier Monday its vaccine is 94.5% effective, and US drugmaker Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech stating last Monday their vaccine has more than 90% efficacy.

Before the vaccines become widely accessible, however, the AAP called for US leaders to immediately enact a national strategy.

“We urgently need a new, nation-wide strategy to control the pandemic, and that should include implementing proven public health measures like mask wearing and physical distancing,” Goza said.

“This pandemic is taking a heavy toll on children, families and communities,” she added.

While 27% of parents reported worsening mental health for themselves, 14% reported worsening behavioral health for their children, according to a national survey by the AAP.

Visits by children and adolescents to the emergency department for mental health problems have increased more than 24% during the pandemic, according to the US’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While disruptions to education have impacted children’s academic performance and family stability, children who were already vulnerable to abuse and neglect before the pandemic are now at higher and immediate risk of severe harm, neglect and even death, the AAP added.

Overall, there are over 11 million cases in the US with more than 246,000 deaths. Global figures stood at 54.6 million cases and 1.32 million deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.  (News Express/Anadolu Agency)

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