It has been taken for granted that children, teens and young healthy adults are immune to Covid-19.
But a study has now found that they are also at greater risk for several complications from corona unlike what has been thought so far.
The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, is the first to describe the characteristics of seriously ill pediatric COVID-19 patients in North America.
“The idea that COVID-19 is sparing of young people is just false,” said study coauthor Lawrence C. Kleinman, professor and vice chair for academic development and chief of the Department of Pediatrics’ Division of Population Health, Quality and Implementation Science at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
“While children are more likely to get very sick if they have other chronic conditions, including obesity, it is important to note that children without chronic illness are also at risk. Parents need to continue to take the virus seriously.”
The study done in young and children found that 20 percent experienced failure of two or more organ systems and nearly 40 percent required a breathing tube and ventilator. At the end of the follow-up period, nearly 33 percent of the children were still hospitalized due to COVID-19, with three still requiring ventilator support and one on life support. Two of the children admitted during the three-week study period died.
“This study provides a baseline understanding of the early disease burden of COVID-19 in pediatric patients,” said Hariprem Rajasekhar, a pediatric intensivist involved in conducting the study at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics. “The findings confirm that this emerging disease was already widespread in March and that it is not universally benign among children.”