PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The number of coronavirus cases among children in the United States has increased 90 percent in the last month, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
KDKA analyzed the numbers from the Pennsylvania Department of Health and found that the percentage of children getting coronavirus compared to other age groups increased significantly from April to August. But experts say that’s due, in part, to more children getting tested.
Pennsylvania tracks the percentage of daily coronavirus cases in kids from birth to 4, 5 to 12 and 13 to 18. In April and early May, it was 1 or “nearly 1%” for all kids.
By the first two weeks of June, that increased to 1 percent for kids 12 and under, and 2 percent for kids 13 to 18.
In July, the 13- to 18-year-olds grew to nearly 3 percent of cases. In August, it continued to increase with nearly 4 percent in the last two days.
“Now that we see more and more kids are getting tested for a variety of reasons, we’re seeing that kids, in fact, do get it, and kids spread it to other kids, and kids can spread it to adults, which is a big risk,” Dr. Todd Wolynn, CEO OF Kids+ Pediatrics, said.
Nationwide, kids make up 9.1 percent of coronavirus cases, more than the 6 percent in Pennsylvania. Dr. Wolynn says it’s still hard to get kids tested here in western Pennsylvania.
“For a long time, there was one place in Pittsburgh where you could even do pediatric testing. Now, there are two, and you have to get an appointment. It’s not that easy just to go in,” said Dr. Wolynn.
But when kids do get coronavirus, they tend to have more mild symptoms. He adds, “It does look like younger ages are unlikely to get severe outcomes. That doesn’t mean they won’t get any severe outcomes.”
That’s why Dr. Wolynn says it’s important that kids and teenagers wear masks and social distance, so they, their friends and families don’t get coronavirus.