In its first major report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, the CDC analyzed confirmed cases from 50 states, the District of Columbia and four US territories that occurred between February 12 and April 2. US health officials have examined 149,760 cases. where age was known and revealed that 2,572 or 1.7% of the cases were under the age of 18.
According to CDC results, at least 73% of pediatric patients had symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. About 5.7 percent of the children, or 20 percent of those with known hospital status, were hospitalized, the agency said.
Three deaths have been reported during this period, although they are suspected of having COVID-19, officials continue to verify if this is the likely cause of the deaths.
“These data support previous findings that children with COVID-19 may not have reported fever or cough as often as adults,” writes the CDC in its report. “While most cases of COVID-19 in children are not serious, serious COVID-19 disease leading to hospitalization still occurs in this age group.
The CDC said the findings were consistent with data from researchers in China, where the virus emerged and the cases reached more than 82,000 on Monday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are more than 338,000 cases in the United States, according to Hopkins.
A recent study, published online in the journal Pediatrics, examined 2,143 cases of children with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 who were reported to the Chinese CDC between January 16 and February 8.
The study found that a number of children in China have developed a serious or critical illness and that one child has died. Over 90% of the cases were asymptomatic, mild or moderate. However, almost 6% of children’s cases were serious or critical, compared to 18.5% for adults.
At the start of the epidemic, researchers and infectious disease experts said the virus appeared to spare children, but was especially severe in the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. However, one researcher noted that the apparent lack of children among confirmed cases of coronavirus could also be due to the fact that they become infected but develop milder symptoms that are not reported to local authorities.
“Data is released in so many places and in so many forms,” said Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, in February.
Differences in symptoms between different age groups are also seen in other respiratory illnesses. Seasonal flu, which infects millions of people in the United States each year, is generally more severe in adults than in children.
Thousands of children are hospitalized each year because of the flu, but deaths are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, between 50% and 70% of flu-related hospitalizations in the United States occur in people 65 and older, and between 70% and 85% of deaths occur in the same age group, according to the CDC.
Coronavirus symptoms can include sore throat, runny nose, diarrhea, fever, or pneumonia, and can progress to multiple organ failure or even death in some cases, according to the World Health Organization. .
The CDC recommended on Tuesday that Americans practice social distancing, writing “Daily preventive behaviors remain important for all age groups, as patients will suffer from a less serious illness and those without symptoms will likely play an important role in transmission of the disease ”.