TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) – Reflecting findings from a similar study in China, the first comprehensive calculation of coronavirus infection in American children shows a far lesser chance of causing severe disease.
Children under the age of 18 are much less likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 than adults. Although people under the age of 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population, they only make up 1.7% of the cases recorded between February 12 and April 2, the new study found.
Even if children are made sick by new coronaviruses, the disease is usually mild, said a team led by Lucy McNamara, from the U.S. Disease Control Center. US and COVID-19 Prevention Prevention Team.
Only under 6% of children with COVID-19 end up in hospital, the study found, compared with 10% of adults aged 18 to 64 years.
And while every child death is a tragedy, only three of the 2,572 children with COVID-19 covered by the study died, the team reported.
Even the usual symptoms of COVID-19 appear less frequently in children, McNamara’s team noted.
“Relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and fewer children than adults who have a fever, cough or shortness of breath,” the CDC group found.
When cases are among children is severe, most often children have an underlying medical condition, such as asthma, heart disease or a suppressed immune system (for example, due to cancer therapy), note the authors of the study.
Among nearly 300 cases where data on other pediatric medical histories is available, “28 out of 37 (77%) inpatients, including all six patients admitted to the ICU, have one or more underlying medical conditions,” the CDC team reported.
This finding is consistent with previous studies on COVID-19 cases of children in China, where the pandemic began, the researchers said.
Dr. Lorry Rubin directs infectious diseases in children at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Reading the CDC report, he agreed that “the likelihood of a child being seriously ill with COVID-19 is much lower than that of an adult.”
When serious illness occurs, it is usually associated with other chronic health conditions, Rubin explains. Very rarely, healthy children can be seriously ill with COVID-19 – in this case it may be “associated with a stronger one [excessive] the inflammatory response to the virus compared to other children, which children genetically predisposed, “he theorized.
Other experts note that more children may be infected with the corona virus than they realize.
“I want to emphasize that there are a large number of children who may be affected by this disease which are asymptomatic with very mild symptoms,” Dr. Eric Cioe Pena, director of global health at Northwell Health, in New Hyde Park, NY “Certainly there is not a very high risk of death in this age group, and I want to convince people of that,” he said.
While rare and very tragic deaths do occur, “most children are protected from this,” he said, “and that is really the lesson we learned.”
But McNamara’s team stressed that despite this, social distance, hand washing and other preventive measures must be extended to children as well, because they can unwittingly transmit the virus to more vulnerable elders.
Doing so will “protect the health care system from being overloaded, and protect older adults and people of all ages,” the CDC team wrote.
New report published April 6 on CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Reports.
U.S. Disease Control and Prevention Center new coronavirus.
SOURCE: Lorry Rubin M.D., director, pediatric infectious disease, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, New Hyde Park, N.Y .; Eric Cioe Pena, M.D., director, global health, Northwell Health, New Hyde Park, N.Y .; April 6, 2020, Morbidity and Mortality Reports
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