The US recently reported more than 243,000 COVID-19 cases in kids in one week, the 2nd-highest total of any week

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Students walk to their classrooms at a public middle school in Los Angeles, California, September 10, 2021.
Students at a public middle school in Los Angeles on Friday. Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

More than 243,000 kids in the US were found to have COVID-19 in a recent seven-day period, the second-highest week for child cases of the pandemic, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported.

In the week that ended Thursday, 243,373 child COVID-19 cases were reported, per the AAP. Weekly cases tracked by the AAP have trended upward since July, when they rose to roughly 72,000 from 12,000.

"After declining in early summer, child cases have increased exponentially, with nearly 500,000 cases in the past 2 weeks," the organization reported.

During the week that ended Thursday, kids accounted for 28.9% of the US's weekly caseload, greater than their 22.2% share of the US population, the AAP reported.

As of Thursday, almost 5.3 million children had tested positive for COVID-19, the AAP said.

Schools across the country are opening for in-person instruction. In an emailed statement, Burbio, a data service monitoring school closings, reported that as of Sunday, there had been nearly 1,700 in-person school closings across 386 districts in 38 states.

Public-health experts have said more mask mandates and more people getting vaccinated would help curb the spread of the virus. But so far, none of the COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in kids under the age of 12.

Some parents have asked their pediatricians to vaccinate their kids under 12 despite the lack of approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the AAP have warned against vaccinating children under the age of 12 without FDA authorization or approval.

On Sunday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA commissioner, told CBS that Pfizer's vaccine could be authorized for emergency use in kids ages 5 to 11 by the end of next month.

"The FDA says it will be a matter of weeks, not months, to make a determination if they're going to authorize vaccines for kids between 5 to 11," he said. "I interpret that to be perhaps four weeks, maybe six weeks."

The AAP said that it's uncommon for kids to develop severe illness from COVID-19 but that there's "an urgent need to collect more data" on the long-term impacts.

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