As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, doctors are baffled by children’s apparent resistance to the deadly illness.
Meanwhile, supermarket shelves are turning bare amid heightened anxiety about the virus.
How does coronavirus affect kids?
In China, children under 19 account for 23% of the total population, compared to 62% for adults between 30 and 79.
An analysis of 44 ,672 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that:
- fewer than 2% of cases (965 cases) occurred in children under the age of 19, compared to 87% in adults between 30 and 79 years old.
- Children in China also appeared less likely to die from the disease than adults.
- No deaths occurred in kids aged 9 and younger, even though the overall case fatality rate iss between 2% and 4% in Hubei province, and 0.7% in other parts of China.
So why are kids more resistant against the coronavirus?
There are two main scenarios:
- The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, may be less likely to infect children than adults.
- Children exhibit milder symptoms, or none at all, and are therefore less likely to seek medical care than adults.
As stated by the CDC: “children with confirmed Covid-19 have generally presented with mild symptoms, and though severe complications…have been reported, they appear to be uncommon.”
But what scientists don’t understand is “whether children are getting infected at low rates or just not showing very strong symptoms.”
How to protect children from coronavirus
Even if children are less likely than adults to get or die from the virus that causes Covid-19, that doesn’t mean there’s no threat. Children with underlying health conditions, like asthma, could have an increased risk of complications. Moreover, “there’s reason to think kids may be helping to amplify transmission by becoming ill and passing flu viruses on to their parents, grandparents, teachers, and caregivers.”
The CDC hasn’t provided any measures to protect against the virus that are specific to kids. Across the board, the agency recommends “cleaning hands often using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoiding people who are sick, and staying up to date on vaccinations, including influenza vaccine.”
But there are ways in which this epidemic could uniquely affect children’s lives in the next few months, as some governments, worried about person-to-person transmission, enforce long-term school closures.
“The go-to intervention in flu pandemic planning is closing schools, and that may be very effective or it may be totally ineffective. It’s a costly and disruptive thing to do, especially in the United States, because many people rely on school breakfast and lunch for nutrition. So we really need evidence that closing schools would help.”
Professor Robert Booy from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance said children abroad only seemed to suffer mild symptoms.
‘Those children who did contract the virus overseas have only had mild symptoms such as fever and upper respiratory symptoms,’ he said.
‘In adults, they are reacting quite violently because perhaps they have seen a previous coronavirus infection and that’s set up the immune system to react inappropriately and excessively.’
Global death toll hits 3,000 after flurry of fresh Italy cases
The global coronavirus death toll has hit 3,000 following a sudden spike in Italian cases.
Five fatalities were announced in Italy today, taking its death toll to 34 as infection continues to cripple the country’s northern regions.
Total patient numbers rose to 1,694 after the Civil Protection Agency revealed roughly 500 fresh positive tests this evening – an alarming 50% climb in just 24 hours.
Of the 13 new patients announced in the UK, seven had recently returned from Italy.
The total number of Australians diagnosed with the virus is now 33, including James Kwan, who died on Sunday.
Although we don’t have many information about the outbreak in Iran, many journalists report it going out-of-control with hundreds of death and up to 18,000 infected.