Coronavirus in Children: Everything You Should Know

09 June, 2020
Coronavirus in children may be an infection that cures asymptomatically, but you must be careful and pay attention to the symptoms. In addition, children are large community transmitters of COVID-19, so they must also comply with preventive isolation.
 

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is the virus that has triggered the pandemic that’s shaking the world. Since it’s a new type of this virus, scientists are still investigating all its effects and characteristics. However, one thing is clear: the effect of coronavirus on children is different.

Since the first cases began in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019, most cases have been observed in adults. Although mortality rates in the elderly are very high, coronavirus in children hardly ever causes death. In fact, infection in childhood is, in most cases, asymptomatic.

Scientists are still studying this phenomenon. However, in this article, we’ll explain everything that is currently known about coronavirus in children and how it can affect them.

What is the coronavirus and what symptoms does it produce?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses with different subtypes. The first cases of a new type of coronavirus were detected in late 2019. The origins of this virus are still unknown, but it’s suspected that it mutated from an animal host.

It’s a highly contagious infection. The problem is that this virus can produce different symptoms, from a simple cold to pneumonia, or respiratory failure. In fact, it affects people differently depending on their age and the state of their immune system.

The coronavirus is causing a significant number of deaths in older people. However, they aren’t the only ones affected, as some deaths have also been reported in younger people, although much less frequently. The main symptoms of this infection are fever, cough, and respiratory distress. However, even though there may be complications, many people also have the infection and don’t show any symptoms.

 
A girl coughing.
Coronavirus can cause everything from simple colds to severe pneumonia.

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Coronavirus in children

As we’ve already mentioned, the coronavirus in children acts differently. However, this is not in the sense of the infection process, but in terms of the symptoms. In general, the symptoms are much milder and the mortality rate is really low in children.

Also, several other differences have been identified. A study published in the journal Pediatrics explains that the percentage of children who develop serious symptoms is very small. However, as they get older, the risk of complications increases.

Coronaviruses in children do still pose a risk to those with a weak immune system or respiratory problems. It has been estimated that nearly 40% of children who get the infection have an infection from another virus or bacteria at the same time. This fact makes the study of coronavirus in children more complex. In terms of symptoms, the same statistics indicate that around 60% of children with the infection experience fever and cough.

A girl with a mask.
COVID-19 in children produces mild forms of the disease.
 

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Coronavirus in children poses a greater risk of transmission

Although, as we’ve noted, coronavirus in children doesn’t appear to pose much risk, it does pose a problem in terms of transmission. Children are a major source of infection for any contagious illness.

As adults, we’re increasingly aware of the hygiene conditions that we have to follow. However, children aren’t, and most of them don’t know how to carry out proper hand hygiene and washing. In fact, they’re often constantly touching their noses and mouths.

Therefore, as parents or caregivers, we must pay special attention to children. We have to keep an eye on their symptoms to prevent any complications or problems and to their hygiene. We must be aware of how complicated this situation is.

Finally, we have to emphasize that you should prevent contact between children and older people. The coronavirus in children may often be asymptomatic, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t be transmitted. In light of this, we have to take every possible precaution.

 
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19) (para Padres) – Nemours KidsHealth. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://kidshealth.org/es/parents/coronavirus-esp.html
  • La infección por coronavirus en niños, incluido el COVID-19 | SEPEAP – Sociedad Española de Pediatría Extrahospitalaria y Atención Primaria. (n.d.). Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://sepeap.org/la-infeccion-por-coronavirus-en-ninos-incluido-el-covid-19/
  • Dong, Y., Mo, X., Hu, Y., Qi, X., Jiang, F., Jiang, Z., & Tong, S. (2020). Epidemiological Characteristics of 2143 Pediatric Patients With 2019 Coronavirus Disease in China. Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2020-0702
  • Cai, Jiehao, et al. “A Case Series of children with 2019 novel coronavirus infection: clinical and epidemiological features.” Clinical Infectious Diseases (2020).
  • Ogimi, Chikara, et al. “Characteristics and outcomes of coronavirus infection in children: the role of viral factors and an immunocompromised state.” Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society 8.1 (2019): 21-28.