Q&A Coronavirus + Its Effects On Children

Q&A Coronavirus + Its Effects On Children

As a parent, we know you may have concerns surrounding the virus COVID-19, so we wanted to take a moment to demystify any false information out there. The GOOD NEWS is, Coronavirus symptoms are milder in children than adults. 

We wanted to share a Q&A on How the Coronavirus Affects your Kids with Dr. Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

1. Are children getting sick?

Yes, children are catching the Coronavirus, but their symptoms are milder than adults. According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, out of nearly 45,000 confirmed cases in China through February 11, there was only one death in someone younger than 20 and 0 deaths for ages 10 and younger.

"Children simply don't get very sick when they get this infection," he said. "So if they develop any symptoms at all, they're mild ... and so, severe illnesses and deaths, fortunately, are incredibly rare." stated Dr. Arthur Reingold.

2. Can children pass on the virus and what measures need to be taken?

Just because children do not develop severe symptoms, or even at all, it does not mean they are not carriers of it. Dr. Reingold said it's likely that the number of cases in children is underreported, in part because their symptoms are so minimal or mild, but he warned they can still infect others. 

The biggest concern is that in small or large groups, children could still pass along the virus to those who are more susceptible -- including the elderly in the community or older family members.

3. But why aren't children getting sick?

"If they are getting infected and not getting sick, then it seems to me the most likely theory is that they do have some level of immunity, and most likely it's from being exposed to other coronaviruses," Dr. Reingold said.

Because smaller numbers of children have been infected with the Coronavirus or only developed mild symptoms, it's been more difficult to study the disease in the very young, according to a World Health Organization-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease report in February. Without blood test results, "it is not possible to determine the extent of infection among children, what role children play in transmission, whether children are less susceptible or if they present differently clinically," according to the report. In China, only 2.4 percent of reported cases were children and only 0.2 percent of reported cases were children who got critically ill, according to the World Health Organization. China has reported no case of a young child dying of the disease COVID-19. For ages 10 to 39, however, the fatality rate is roughly 0.2 percent, according to a separate study drawing on patient records of 44,672 confirmed cases. 

4. Are there any treatments available for children with COVID-19?

There are currently no antiviral drugs recommended or licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for COVID-19. Clinical management includes prompt implementation of recommended infection prevention and control measures in healthcare settings and supportive management of complications. See more information on CDC Clinical Guidance for COVID-19.

Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of respiratory infections, including covering coughs, cleaning hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza.  Additional information on prevention measures can be found here (Prevention for 2019 Novel Coronavirus).


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