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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Report: Coronavirus cases among US children surpass 500,000

Back in April, experts didn't think COVID-19 had a big impact in children. Kids only made up about 2% of cases then.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Children's Hospital Association (CHA) released a report Tuesday that found more than 70,000 new cases of COIVD-19 among children from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3, bringing the total number of child coronavirus cases to over 513,000. 

That is a 16% increase in just two weeks. 

A release from the AAP says this data "underscores the urgent need to control the virus in communities before schools and businesses can reopen safely." 

The report found that 60% of children with the virus needed intensive care. Most of those cases were reported from Southern and Midwestern states. 

"These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously," said AAP President Sara "Sally" Goza, MD, FAAP. 

513,415 children and teens have tested positive for the virus as of Sept. 3. That population represents 9.8% of all positive cases, according to the AAP. 

In Iowa, kids make up about 7% of all positive cases.

"While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities," Goza said. "A disproportionate number of cases are reported in Black and Hispanic children and in places where there is high poverty. We must work harder to address societal inequities that contribute to these disparities." 

"We really need to observe the social distancing and preventative measures need to be in place because these numbers are scary," said Dr. Ashlesha Koushik with the AAP. 

As fall settles in, Dr. Koushik said vaccinations are crucial, even if kids are learning remotely. 

"If they are going back to school, then, you know, definitely not missing out on vaccinations, making sure they're up to date on all their vaccinations," Koushik said. 

"That is one very, very central piece and also getting the flu shot. Like, please get your flu shot." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19. As we head into the fall, health experts also recommend getting your flu shot.

Read the latest report from the AAP and CHA

A joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association Summary of publicly reported data from 49 states, NYC, DC, PR, and GU Version: 9/3/20 COVID-19: Available Data for Children Fig 1A: States Reporting Age Distribution * State-level reports are the best publicly available data of