ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — More than 1.6 million children nationwide have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The American Academy of Pediatrics collects and shares all publicly available data from states on child COVID-19 cases.
Dr. Joseph Perno, Chief Medical Officer at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, said children have tested positive for the virus at the hospital. Some children have gone to the hospital for other reasons and then test positive for COVID-19.
"We see a fair amount of children who come in with the typical COVID symptoms. It's a mix of fever, runny nose, cough. Some have vomiting or diarrhea. Obviously, it's always helpful to know if they have had any COVID exposure. We're very fortunate and continue to hold true in children is most of them are not severely ill," said Dr. Perno.
Dr. Perno said the most common reason that a pediatric patient would be admitted to the hospital would be the need for oxygen.
"It's always about what is the care you need. Can it be given at home? That is always our preference for any disease," he said.
Dr. Perno said parents should be aware of the symptoms of multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
"What we worry about in children in the syndrome that typically occurs actually down the road...a week, 2 weeks to a month after exposure to COVID which is the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and that can be much more severe and we have seen some of that...that will involve often a rash on the body or hands and feet, peeling skin. There may or may not be fevers," said Dr. Perno.
Dr. Perno said the hospital did not see a spike in pediatric COVID-19 cases with children being in schools.
"Sometimes it’s easier with the children. If you explain to them why and how they’re helping others...most children will follow suit," he said.
He encourages people to practice social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.
"Hand hygiene is always a good thing and never more important than the winter months, getting your flu vaccine if you haven't done it already. Let’s take flu out of the equation....staying away from large gatherings," said Dr. Perno.