FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 800,000 children in the United States have already been infected with COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The group reported a 14 percent increase in cases from October 8-22.

According to pediatrician and University of North Texas Health Science Center assistant professor Dr. Priya Bui, that’s not surprising. But, she said, “The fact that it’s happening so early and so quickly makes me more concerned.”

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Testing in children has increased, she said – both because of interest and seasonal afflictions, such as colds, flu, and allergies. But those aren’t the only numbers she sees going up.

“When you look at data from our big community partners such as Cook Children’s, you see that the positive cases per day are really increasing, too. So that can’t just be testing,” she said.

Pediatricians stress that, while the numbers may be rising, severe illness and death in children are still very rare; 0-0.23% of all COVID-19 deaths have been children.

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“Because children are typically asymptomatic if they have the infection, they’re more likely to spread the problems to other people,” said Dr. Philip Ewing, Pediatric Medical Director at Medical City Children’s ER. “What I’m worried about is what happens when those kids leave school and go to their homes and, more importantly, to see older folks.”

And with the holidays approaching, pediatricians say the best practice is to stick to what works.

“Think about what personally is essential versus non-essential, and try our hardest to limit some of those non-essential exposures so that way we can continue to get through this fall without a peak that we can’t handle,” said Dr. Bui.

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