When it comes to the flu and other viral infections, children are at high risk. Not only do they get sick, they can amplify the spread of viruses to family and community. But, globally, one of the biggest mysteries of the coronavirus pandemic has been children’s ability to stave off the worst symptoms, remain asymptomatic or even be immune to the virus.
Some of the earliest and best data has come out of China. A study of 2,143 paediatric cases (731 lab-confirmed, with the rest suspected) showed more than 90 percent were either asymptomatic or had mild or moderate symptoms (PDF).
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control found that, as of April 2020, a mere 1.7 percent of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country were in children below the age of 18, with only three paediatric deaths among the cases analysed. Data from Italy shows similar patterns.
What is not known is if there is a long-term impact from exposure to the coronavirus, even among those who did not show symptoms when infected. Researchers from the World Health Organization say they do not yet see a clear answer from the data collected.
But while most children appear to handle COVID-19 well, in some rare cases, the disease can lead to a severe condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). It causes inflammation of the heart, lungs and other vital organs. In most situations, children have recovered.
So as schools, camp and care facilities begin opening up around the world, what are the biggest medical concerns about the impact of coronavirus on children? We will discuss with a panel of experts.
On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Dr Faheem Younus, @FaheemYounus
Chief quality officer and chief of infectious diseases, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
Dr Niran al-Agba, @silverdalepeds
Paediatrician, Silverdale Pediatrics
Dr Angela Rasmussen, @angie_rasmussen
Virologist, Columbia University
How does COVID-19 infect children? And should they be in school? – Al Jazeera
WHO probes possible coronavirus link to rare disease in children – Al Jazeera
Source: Al Jazeera