Pediatric COVID-19 infection, hospitalization rates fall for first time in weeks

Last week, the United States reported more than 173,000 child COVID-19 cases.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Child COVID infection, hospitalization rates fall 1st time in weeks
Last week, the United States reported 173,469 child COVID-19 cases.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On a slightly warmer than usual fall day, parents and their children could be found winding down at Philadelphia's Fitler Square.

The relaxed atmosphere on Monday was only countered by the reality of a pandemic still lurking.

"Well, I think a lot of it still comes down to the unknown of how it can impact children of a certain age. I have a one-year-old and I take as many precautions as we can," said parent Joshua Smith.

Last week, the U.S. reported more than 173,000 child COVID-19 cases.

SEE ALSO: Vaccine deadlines in the region bring peace to some, but anxiety to others

In the Philadelphia school district, with the deadline for staffers to be vaccinated having passed on September 30, some parents have peace of mind.

According to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association, it was the first week with fewer than 200,000 new cases reported since mid-August.

Parents attribute that success in part to preventative care.

"No recent scares, so we're feeling pretty confident about it. Temperature checks every morning, they are in small groups and we certainly feel pretty OK about it. It doesn't mean we're going to be blasé about it. It means we're going to be taking our own precautions," said parent Nick Aster.

Some are also crediting vaccines, particularly their enforcement.

"You don't want your child sick. You don't want your child making anyone else sick," said parent Michael Aikens.

The School District of Philadelphia is now requiring testing twice a week for those employees not fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated teachers and staff who test positive will also not be allowed to use special time off granted to those who contract the virus.

Despite the decline in cases, according to the AAP and CHA report, last week children still accounted for a quarter of reported weekly COVID-19 cases.

Still, some parents are confident that as long as you follow the science, there may very well be more days of play ahead.

"All my worries I express to my doctor and she pretty much quells all that," said parent Kelly Catbagan.

While medical experts say severe COVID illness in children is uncommon, more research still needs to be studied on the long-term consequence of the pandemic on children.