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WASHINGTON, Jan 26 -- More than 10 million children in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, Xinhua news agency reported according to the latest report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association.
COVID-19 cases among children have spiked dramatically across the United States during the Omicron variant surge.
A total of 10,603,034 child COVID-19 cases had been reported across the country as of Jan 20, and children represented 18.4 per cent of all confirmed cases, said the report published late Monday.
Over 1.1 million child COVID-19 cases were reported in the past week, nearly five times the rate of the peak of last winter's surge, according to the AAP.
This number was a 17 per cent increase over the 981,000 added cases reported the week before and a doubling of case counts from the two weeks prior.
Over 2 million child COVID-19 cases have been added in the past two weeks.
This marks the 24th week in a row child COVID-19 cases in the US are above 100,000. Since the first week of September, there have been over 5.6 million additional child cases, added the report.
Children accounted for 1.7 percent to 4.4 per cent of total reported hospitalisations, and 0 to 0.26 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths
"There is an urgent need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects.
"It is important to recognise there are immediate effects of the pandemic on children's health, but importantly we need to identify and address the long-lasting impacts on the physical, mental, and social well-being of this generation of children and youth," said the report.
COVID-19 hospitalisation rates among children are soaring in the US due to the surge of cases drive by the Omicron variant.
The 7-day average of daily new hospital admissions for children under 18 with confirmed COVID-19 reached a record high of 914 cases in the week ending Jan 16, according to data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Currently the country is averaging about 900 child COVID-19 hospitalisations each day, up 7.1 per cent from the previous week, CDC data show.
There have been over 91,000 child hospitalisations in the US since the CDC started to track the data from Aug 1, 2020.
Though the US saw sharp increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalisations among children, their vaccination rates lagged.
Only 20.3 per cent of children aged five to 11, and 55.4 per cent of children aged between 12 to 17 are fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to CDC data.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said the best way to keep children protected is to vaccinate them as they are eligible and surround them with siblings and parents who are vaccinated themselves.