Pediatric COVID Trends
This edition revisits pediatric COVID-19 trends in the United States. Schools have now been opened for several weeks, providing an opportunity to assess the initial effects of student gatherings in classrooms. We observe decreasing, albeit still extremely high, pediatric case counts during the week ending in September 23, with children composing 27% of all new cases – more than double their share reported during the first week of January. Around 200,000 new pediatric cases are being reported each day.
Turning to pediatric hospital admissions, we find that, during the week of September 23, an average of 278 children were newly admitted to the hospital each day due to COVID-19. This was below the record 350 and 372 average daily pediatric admissions during the weeks of September 9 and September 2, respectively. Pediatric hospitalizations are still 27% above their previous peak in late January, and 450% higher than that reported on July 1. Notwithstanding the recent pediatric case increases, pediatric hospitalizations represented a small share (3.1%) of overall COVID hospitalizations during the week of September 23.
Pediatric deaths attributable to COVID-19 have been rare. Fewer than 500 COVID deaths have occurred among children since the start of the pandemic. Among states reporting, children accounted for 0.00%-0.27% of all COVID-19 deaths, and 7 states have reported zero child deaths.
Finally, we observe state COVID trends on the basis of school mask and vaccine policies. We calculate that states that require masks to be worn in schools have the lowest total pediatric case numbers and the lowest per capita pediatric hospitalization levels compared to states with mandate restrictions and states without mask mandate laws. Mask mandate states also had a 40% lower per capita pediatric death rate than states that barred such mandates. Similar trends are visible for state vaccination policies. States with vaccine mandates had significantly lower pediatric case, hospitalization, and death counts than both states that outlawed mandates and those with no vaccine requirements.