A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children's Hospital Association found that more than 243,000 children tested positive for COVID last week. That's almost 29% of all cases reported.
Here in Alabama, the state health department says a fourth of cases right now are among children.
"This is not last year's virus," Dr. Karen Landers said.
She explained the current variant is more contagious, getting people sicker more quickly, and putting many of them in the hospital.
Right now, there are 46 kids in hospital across Alabama with COVID-19. Almost half of those kids are in the ICU and 7 are on ventilators.
Dr. Landers says it's important to keep kids from getting COVID by taking the necessary precautions including wearing a mask.
"Masks are not harmful. The mask is not going to be problematic for a child. What is going to be problematic for children is having family members becoming sick and potentially die. Losing part of their support system as a result of this terrible virus," Dr. Landers said.
State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey says he's also very concerned about COVID cases in schools. During Thursday's work session, he said the positivity rate is up 300% than what it was last year at their very worst.
During the first week of school, there were more than 4,000 cases reported for the first time ever. Those numbers only continue to go up. Last week, more than 8,400 cases were reported in schools across the state.
Dr. Landers is asking the community to take a layered mitigation approach. That means masking, social distancing and good hygiene. She says these steps are harmless and will keep you safe from COVID-19. She also asks anyone who can to get the COVID vaccine.