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An AAP study examined over 2,000 pediatric patients. Results showed nearly 90 percent of the children to be asymptomatic, mild or moderate. That said, the study also showed the percentage of infants with serious symptoms to be higher than that of older children. The fact remains, those most at risk of serious infection from the coronavirus appear to be the middle-aged and elderly.
A report published in JAMA found that the median age of coronavirus patients is between 49 and 56 years old. And according to China's National Health Commission, more than 80 percent of deaths from the coronavirus consist of people over age 60. More than 75 percent of the deceased had at least one underlying disease, such as diabetes or a heart condition, the agency said.
It may sound counterintuitive that the virus is largely sparing the young. After all, we often hear about children dying and being hospitalized because of flu in the United States.
But many diseases pose a greater danger to adults than kids. For example, SARS and MERS – close cousins to the current coronavirus – largely spared children under age 12. Chickenpox typically clears up without major incident in children, yet is more likely to cause serious complications in adults. Even flu, though it does land many children in the hospital, kills a greater number of adults.
Experts believe adults, especially those who are older, may be more susceptible to the disease because:
- The body's immune system weakens with age.
- Older people are more likely than kids and younger folks to have underlying health problems such as diabetes and heart disease.
Of course, chickenpox, flu, and other diseases can still be dangerous – even lethal – for kids, so don't skip recommended vaccinations for your child.
It's likely that kids are catching the coronavirus but only showing mild symptoms, which may account for why their infections go unrecognized, Dr. Malik Peiris, a disease specialist at the University of Hong Kong, told the New York Times.
To be clear, kids can get sick from the coronavirus. There are cases of babies and children being infected, including a report of an infected newborn born to a mother who was sick with COVID-19. As of July 17, 2020, the CDC reported that children under 18 account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths. Health officials and scientists are still learning about the disease, so it's still possible they'll discover evidence of greater effects on children.
Currently, if you're living in the United States, it's possible that you or anyone in your family could be exposed to the coronavirus. Your risk of being exposed to coronavirus is directly related to the rate of transmission in your immediate community. Cases of COVID-19 and community spread are being reported in all states and are expected to increase as the outbreak expands.There are several maps that can help you pinpoint COVID-19 case locations. Among the clearest is The New York Times map based on CDC data.
There's no vaccine against the coronavirus. However, you can take basic precautions to reduce your family's risk of getting this and other illnesses by:
- Getting recommended vaccines on schedule, including an annual flu shot
- Avoiding close contact with sick people, and staying home when sick
- Practicing proper hand-washing
- Not touching the eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- Coughing and sneezing into a tissue, and throwing the tissue in the trash
- Practice social distancing as much as possible to lower risk of exposure
It's pertinent to keep informed about the latest developments involving COVID-19. The CDC is currently recommending people wear non-surgical cloth face coverings when in public spaces, such as in supermarkets, where it's difficult to maintain social distancing measures. It's important to note that face coverings should not be worn by children under 2 years old or anyone not capable of removing them on their own.
The Department of State currently advises U.S. citizens to avoid all nonessential international travel. If you have plans to travel, check out the latest travel advisories. Travel within the U.S. is currently not restricted, but since COVID-19 cases have been reported in all states, and crowded travel settings increase risk of exposure, enhanced precaution is advised.
our site understands that the coronavirus pandemic is an evolving story and that your questions will change over time. We'll continue asking moms and dads in our Community what they want to know, and we'll get the answers from experts to keep them – and you – informed and supported.
Updated July 28th, 2020 to include most recent data from CDC.
our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.