Visit Our Coronavirus (COVID-19)  Resource Section ⇒ X
Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

U.S. Study Finds COVID-19 Seldom Severe in Kids

U.S. Study Finds COVID-19 Seldom Severe in Kids

TUESDAY, April 7, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Mirroring findings from a similar study in China, the first comprehensive tally of coronavirus infection in American children shows it's much less likely to cause severe illness.

Children under the age of 18 are far less likely to even be diagnosed with COVID-19 than adults. Although people under the age of 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population, they made up just 1.7% of cases recorded between Feb. 12 and April 2, the new study found.

Even if kids were made ill by the new coronavirus, that illness was typically mild, said a team led by Lucy McNamara, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 Response Team.

Just under 6% of kids with COVID-19 ended up in the hospital, the study found, compared to 10% of adults aged 18 to 64.

And while every pediatric 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 kids, McNamara's team noted.

"Relatively few children with COVID-19 are hospitalized, and fewer children than adults experienced fever, cough or shortness of breath," the CDC group found.

When cases among kids are severe, most often the child has an underlying medical condition, such as asthma, heart ailments or suppressed immune systems (for example, due to cancer therapies), the study authors noted.

Among nearly 300 cases where data on the child's other medical history was available, "28 of 37 (77%) hospitalized patients, including all six patients admitted to an ICU, had one or more underlying medical conditions," the CDC team reported.

The findings are consistent with a prior study of pediatric COVID-19 cases in China, where the pandemic began, the researchers said.

Dr. Lorry Rubin directs pediatric infectious disease at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Reading over the CDC report, he agreed that "the likelihood of a child getting seriously ill with COVID-19 is much lower than in adults."

When serious illness does occur, it's usually linked to another chronic health condition, Rubin explained. Very rarely, an otherwise healthy child may become severely ill with COVID-19 -- in these cases it may be "related to a more robust [excessive] inflammatory response to the virus than other children, to which the children are genetically predisposed," he theorized.

Another expert noted that many more children are probably infected with coronavirus than is realized.

"I want to emphasize that there is an enormous amount of kids probably getting this disease that are asymptomatic with very mild symptoms," said Dr. Eric Cioe Pena, director of global health at Northwell Health, in New Hyde Park, N.Y. "Certainly there isn't a very high risk of mortality in this age group, and I want to reassure people of that," he said.

While rare and very tragic deaths do occur, "kids are mostly protected from this," he said, "and that's really the lesson we learned."

But McNamara's team stressed that even if that is so, social distancing, hand-washing and other preventive measures must extend to children as well, because they can unwittingly pass on the virus to their more vulnerable elders.

Doing so will "protect the health care system from being overloaded, and protect older adults and persons of any age," the CDC team wrote.

The new report was published April 6 in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the new coronavirus.

SOURCES: Lorry Rubin M.D., director, pediatric infectious diseases, 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 Weekly Report

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Childrens Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
Dr. James Bennett
Dr. J. Marc Cardelia
Dr. Bettina Gyr
Dr. Peter Moskal
Dr. Cara Novick
Dr. Stephanie Pearce
Dr. Carl St. Remy
Sports Medicine
Dr. Joel Brenner
Dr. Aisha Joyce
Dr. Micah Lamb
Dr. David Smith
Infectious Disease
Dr. Randall Fisher
Dr. Laura Sass
Health Tips
Help Your Babysitter Prepare for Anything
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
When Can a Child Wear Contact Lenses
Quizzes
Teen Health Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Adolescent (13 to 18 Years)
Amenorrhea in Teens
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Breast Conditions in Young Women
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Choosing Child Care for Your Breastfed Infant
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Female Growth and Development
Firearms
Gynecological and Menstrual Conditions
Gynecological Infections
Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) in Children
High Blood Pressure in Children and Teens
Home Page - Adolescent Medicine
Infection in Babies
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Major Depression in Teens
Meningitis in Children
Menstrual Cramps (Dysmenorrhea) in Teens
Menstrual Disorders
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Oral Health
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Overview of Adolescent Health Problems
Pap Test for Adolescents
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries of the Face and Head- Overview
Teens and Diabetes Mellitus
Television and Children
Thalassemia
The Growing Child- Teenager (13 to 18 Years)
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.