COVID-19 and Kids

August 9, 2021

Kids & COVID

As American children head back to school, here's a closer look at the latest data on COVID-19 cases in children.
What To Know & Why It Matters:


  • The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) collaborate to collect and share data on COVID-19 cases in children.
  • The goal? To “provide a weekly snapshot of how COVID-19 is affecting children in the United States.”
  • Their weekly report shares “all publicly available data from states” on COVID-19 cases in children. Last week’s report shared data from 49 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Data Limitations

  • Important to note: The AAP and CHA note that data collected from each state differs slightly due to variations in data reporting methods from state to state.
  • Example: Some states define the age range of children to be between 0-14, while others define their age to be between 0-18. Additionally, some states have stopped reporting data or report less frequently.
  • Unknown: We don’t know the number of children who have become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 but not tested.

Recent Report

  • Though cases in children were decreasing in the early summer months, they have “steadily increased since the beginning of July.” From July 29 – August 5, nearly 94,000 cases in children were reported – 15% of last week’s total reported cases.
  • Of the 23 states (& NYC) reporting hospitalizations, less than 2% of all cases resulted in hospitalization.
  • Out of the 43 states, NYC, Puerto Rico, and Guam who reported deaths, “0.00% – 0.03% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death.”
"At this time, it appears that severe illness due to COVID-19 is uncommon among children. However, there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts of the pandemic on children, including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects."

American Academy of Pediatrics. In AAP’s summary of last week’s report, the organization emphasized the importance of awareness of the long-term impacts of the pandemic on children.

Something To Consider:

  • Remember: Hospitalization continues to be very rare for minors. Nationally, doctors now report treating younger patients more frequently; any statistical increase is notable.
  • However: Other physicians have questioned the reliability of data on young Americans *in general* during the pandemic and specifically during this time of high community transmission (e.g. if that data accurately separates children hospitalized for COVID-19 or those testing positive for the virus while seeking care for another injury/illness).

The first COVID-19 case in the U.S. was reported in January of 2020. According to the CDC, there have been almost 36 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. since then. Of those cases, nearly 4.3 million are children (AAP), which is about 12% of all total reported cases in the U.S.

To see your states reporting on COVID-19 cases in children, you can read AAP’s full report on our source page which breaks down the reported data by state.

Summary: “Children and COVID-19: State-Level Data Report”

Full Report: “Children and COVID-19: State Data Report”

Total COVID-19 Cases in the United States: CDC Data Tracker

by Jenna Lee,