COVID-19: 80% of Kids Likely To Be Infected But Don't Show Symptoms, Says Paediatrician
The paediatrician says families should assume that children have COVID-19 if they begin to show symptoms consistent with the virus.
There has been much focus on COVID-19 infection risks and complications in especially the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions. But recent studies have revealed an unexpected group that could be at risk, presenting greater dangers to the general community: healthy children.
According to recent research by the CDC on 6 April, healthy young children, especially infants, could become extremely ill from the coronavirus.
In the 2,572 cases out of nearly 150,000 confirmed cases analysed by the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), at least three deaths were reported between 12 February and 2 April 2020.
For patients under 18, the median age of those infected by COVID-19 is said to be 11, according to CDC.
Children and COVID-19: Paediatrician says 80% of kids likely to be infected
In light of official numbers reported of children with coronavirus, Dr. Dyan Hes, a paediatrician with New York City’s Gramercy Pediatrics believes that they are not indicative of “the true scope of the outbreak due to lack of widespread testing.”
“I don’t mean to be rude, but the numbers are totally wrong,” Hes said in an interview with CBS News.
This is taking into consideration that most of the kids (about 80% to 90%) are asymptomatic, according to her. It means that children do not have typical symptoms such as fever and cough, even if they do contract the infection.
And this presents the “greater danger” because infected children who do not show symptoms could “potentially infect others who are at higher risk”, Hes argued.
Hes also compared COVID-19 to the flu which is said to be less severe but has caused thousands of deaths a year in kids. So what more for when it comes to the implications of COVID-19?
“I think that the mortality rate is way, way less than 0.5% for children who have it because it is so prevalent.”
The CDC report also acknowledges the role that children with only mild or no symptoms may have played in the transmission and spread of COVID-19 in the community.
What parents should look out for in children and teens
Due to the lack of testing, Hes says families should assume that children have COVID-19 if they begin to show symptoms consistent with the virus.
According to the CDC, fever, cough, and in a smaller number, shortness of breath are the most common symptoms reported in paediatric patients.
“Although most cases reported among children to date have not been severe, clinicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for COVID-19 infection in children and monitor for progression of illness, particularly among infants and children with underlying conditions,” the report stated.
But should you send your child to the paediatrician? Hes says no, but opt for online consultations with the doctor instead.
In consideration of infants being who belong to more vulnerable groups, Hes mentioned that some adults would turn towards feeding their babies breast milk in hopes to boost their immunity.
Hes, however, said that there is no definitive proof that breast milk could guard babies against COVID-19 infections. Some would also resort to buying breast milk online, which she advises against in case of sale of diluted breast milk and complications from non-tested sources.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in children, the CDC advises parents to clean their child’s hands often with soap and water, disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily and items like washable plush toys.
Several Cases of Coronavirus in Children in Singapore
Singapore, there were several coronavirus cases involving children—nine children, aged 1 to 13—have been reported since 16 April.
Five children, aged between 1 to 12, are among the new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore reported on Sunday (19 April).
On Saturday evening (18 April), two children aged 2 and 8, were among the 942 new cases of COVID-19 infection reported in Singapore.
Two other children, seven-year-old and a 13-year-old, also tested positive for COVID-19 two days before.
All cases involving children reported recently were linked cases of family members.