How is CV19 currently affecting children?
I have received this question from numerous families so I dove headfirst into the literature to see what has been reported over the last few weeks.
Are children testing positive for CV19?
Yes. According to the CDC, in the United States, 2% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 were among persons aged <18 years.
Are the symptoms different than adults?
The predominant signs and symptoms of COVID-19 reported to date among children are similar to other viral respiratory infections, including fever, and cough.
There have been multiple reports to date of children with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. In one study, up to 13% of pediatric cases with SARS-CoV-2 infection were asymptomatic.
How severe is CV19 in children?
The largest study of pediatric patients (>2,000) with COVID-19 from China reported that illness severity ranged from asymptomatic to critical:
- Asymptomatic (no clinical signs or symptoms with normal chest imaging): 4%
- Mild (mild symptoms, including fever, fatigue, muscle aches, cough): 51%
- Moderate (pneumonia): 39%
- Severe (trouble breathing, decreased oxygen levels): 5%
- Critical (respiratory distress, respiratory failure, shock, or multi-organ dysfunction): 0.6%
How are babies affected by COVID-19?
Although rare, children under age 1 (infants) are at higher risk of severe illness with COVID-19 than older children. This is likely due to their immature immune systems and smaller airways, which make them more likely to develop breathing issues with respiratory virus infections.
Newborns can become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 during childbirth or by exposure to sick caregivers after delivery.
What are Pediatricians saying?
Most Pediatricians continue to state that the risks for children remain low. The AAP cites “mounting evidence ” that transmission of the coronavirus by young children is uncommon, partly because they are less likely to contract it in the first place.
The nation’s pediatricians have come out with a recent statement in favor of bringing children back to the classroom this fall wherever and whenever they can do so safely. Many school districts have chosen to remain closed at this time.
The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.”
I have put together some thoughts on deciding whether you should send your children back to school. You can check that article out here.
This article was posted on July 3, 2020 and updated on Aug 18, 2020. Information changes frequently so please check with the CDC and local guidelines for the most up-to-date information.