More Than 1 Million Kids in the U.S. Have Contracted COVID Since Start of Outbreak

More than 1 million children in the United States have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) since the pandemic started, estimates the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association.

Research shows there have been 1,039,464 reported cases of COVID in children, making up 11.5 percent of cases in the United States. The report identified that the average rate is about 1,381 cases per every 100,000 children in the population.

The data came from the health department websites of 49 states, plus New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Guam.

Hospitalizations and COVID-related deaths among children are "uncommon," the American Academy of Pediatrics pointed out, however, the experts note that "there is an urgent need to collect more data on longer-term impacts 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."

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AAP President Sally Goza said the numbers are "staggering and tragic."

"As a pediatrician who has practiced medicine for over three decades, 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 Goza. "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," Goza added.

In releasing the new report, the AAP is calling on officials to "immediately enact a new, national strategy to reduce the spread of the virus and address myriad harms resulting from the pandemic."

"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, as well as on physicians and other front-line medical teams."

"We must work now to restore confidence in our public health and scientific agencies, create fiscal relief for families and pediatricians alike, and support the systems that support children and families such as our schools, mental health care, and nutrition assistance," Goza added.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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