COVID-19 cases among kids have climbed 76% in recent weeks, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The increase comes as Pfizer’s booster shot for kids ages 5 to 11 was— even though only 28% of children in that age group have received their two doses.
“This current wave of infections among kids could well land a lot of kids in the hospital,” Kaiser Health News’ Dr. Celine Gounder told CBS News.
It’s not just among kids — infections are on the rise nationwide. In the past month alone, COVID cases have soared more than 168%. New cases are nearing 100,000 per day. Nationwide, hospitalizations are on the rise in 40 states and cases are increasing in 41 states.
“The reality is much worse because we’re undercounting COVID cases,” Gounder said. “Many people are testing at home, using at-home rapid tests and many people are not testing at all.”
Some health officials are concerned it could be the beginning of a fifth wave.
About one-third of the nation lives in areas where COVID infections are at medium or high risk levels. Public health officials are urging some communities with rising cases to return to stricter pandemic measures, including indoor masks.
In Connecticut, COVID cases are up nearly 118% in the past month. That’s where Bridget Tichar is raising two young, immunocompromised kids. Five-year-old Teddy and 3-year-old Liza have type 1 diabetes.
“Vaccine is so important to us because it’s basically another tool, another weapon in our arsenal to keep them safe,” she told CBS News. “It’s been wildly stressful the way that I think all parents are dealing with the unknown. That is doubled or maybe even tripled for us.”
Her son got his first dose on his fifth birthday two weeks ago.
But Tichar said she feels like parents are only thinking about their own children in making the decision whether or not to get them vaccinated.
“The vaccine really does save lives and protects lives,” she said.