Why Covid-19 (Mostly) Spares Children

Manila Bulletin|June 02, 2020

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Why Covid-19 (Mostly) Spares Children
So far, very few young children seem to be falling ill. The pattern was seen in outbreaks of MERS and SARS, too.
Eduardo Gonzales

Just about the only good thing about Covid-19 that one can think of is that it spares most children. It’s not that children do not get infected with the disease because they are likely to be as susceptible to the virus as adults, but they hardly get the severe form of the disease. This phenomenon, which was first noted in China, is true worldwide. In the US, by the time 51,000 deaths have occurred only three of the fatalities were below 17 years of age, and all three had pre-existing medical conditions.

Available epidemiologic data clearly show that compared to adults, children 17 years and below are less likely to experience the typical symptoms of infection, including fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing. They are also less likely to need hospitalization and less likely to die of Covid-19.

Studies in China and the US, including one published in the medical journal Pediatrics, showed that more than 90 percent of children infected with Covid-19 had no or only mild to moderate symptoms. This is odd because pathogenic viruses, such as those that cause flu, dengue, polio, and smallpox, affect children and the very old more than young adults.

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June 02, 2020