Coronavirus: American children showing milder symptoms than adults, CDC reports

'Data support previous findings that children with Covid-19 might not have reported fever or cough as often as do adults'

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Monday 06 April 2020 21:38
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The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released the first national data on cases of the coronavirus in US children, which suggests that while the illness is less severe for them, some still require hospitalisation.

In a report released on Monday, the CDC says that fever, cough and shortness of breath were the most common symptoms in children, but that they occurred less often than in adults.

The findings mostly echo reports from China about how Covid-19 affects children.

“These data support previous findings that children with Covid-19 might not have reported fever or cough as often as do adults,” report says. “Whereas most Covid-19 cases in children are not severe, serious Covid-19 illness resulting in hospitalisation still occurs in this age group.”

The report examined data from almost 150,000 laboratory-confirmed US cases in adults and children from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four US territories, between 12 February and 2 April. Of this total, 2,572 of them (1.7 per cent) were children. While most did not become severely ill, three children did die.

About one in five infected children were hospitalised versus a third of adults. Cases were more common in older children and teenagers, but serious illness appeared to be more common in infants. Slightly more boys than girls were infected.

The authors of the report caution that many details were missing from paediatric cases, so the findings should be seen as preliminary.

They also stress the importance of social distancing, given that people without symptoms, including children, can pass on the virus. Indeed, those with no, or milder, symptoms are also less likely to quarantine themselves or realise the importance of doing so.

On Monday, the number of confirmed cases in the US passed 350,000, with more than 10,300 deaths.

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