Select Page

The Myth of Youth: How children can be infected with coronavirus and transmit it to others

As the number of COVID-19 cases rises worldwide, parents trying to protect their children from the disease can take solace in one thing: the disease has generally been milder in children. However, there are many unknowns about coronavirus, and research is ongoing. Here is what we know now.

Can children catch coronavirus?

Yes. They can be infected with and appear to be able to transmit coronavirus, even if they do not have symptoms. That is why it is important for children to practice social distancing and hand-washing, even if they do not appear ill.

How does coronavirus affect children?

It is generally believed to cause milder symptoms in children, but the specific impacts by age are becoming clearer as the outbreak goes on. Much of what we know today is based on reports out of China, where the outbreak began. There 2.4% of all identified cases were in children under 19 years old. An even smaller number within this group of children had severe symptoms, 2.5%, or what the World Health Organization (WHO) described as “a very small proportion”. But more research is being done and a clearer picture is still emerging.

Why does coronavirus affect children differently?

That remains unknown. Dr Jay C Butler, deputy director of infectious disease at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “The phenomenon is very significant,” on a live-streamed show hosted by the Journal of the American Medical Association, but that the mechanisms are “really unknown.” People aged 60 and older or with existing health conditions remain the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. That includes people with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory conditions, according to the WHO.

My child has a health condition. Should I be concerned?

Respiratory conditions such as asthma often result in more severe cases of viral diseases such as influenza. But the coronavirus is new, and it remains unknown whether it will more severely affect children with asthma. Similarly, there is not yet evidence about whether coronavirus could more negatively affect children with diabetes, which is a risk factor for adults. That said, experts at Johns Hopkins University are warning parents to be vigilant.

Should I keep my kids home from school?

In many countries that decision has been taken out of the hands of parents, with school and educational establishments being closed by governments and local authorities in order to try and halt the spread of the virus. If your kids are at home, they will still need regular exercise – and will need to be practicing social distancing when they are outside.

Jеssіcа Glеnzа

Help deliver the independent journalism that the world needs, make a contribution of support to The Guardian.

The Milwaukee Independent began reporting on what was then referred to as the mysterious “Wuhan Virus” in January. Other local media did not picked-up on the story until many weeks later. Our early features focused on the economic impact, social issues, and health concerns long before other Milwaukee news organizations even mentioned the coronavirus. Over the following months, we have published more than 375 articles about the pandemic and how it has affected the lives of Milwaukee residents. This extensive body of work can be found on our COVID-19 Special Report page, a chronological index of links by month. Our editorial voice remains dedicated to informing the public about this health crisis for as long as it persists.
For medical resources, please visit the CDC’s COVID-19 page or the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. All editorial content published by Milwaukee Independent can be found at mkeind.com/COVID19. With a mission of transformative journalism, our staff is free from commercial bias and are not influenced by corporate interests, political affiliations, or a public preferences that rewards clicks with revenue. As an influential publication that provides Milwaukee with quality journalism, our award-winning photojournalism and features have helped to achieve a range of positive social impact that enriches our community. Please join our effort by entrusting us with your contribution. Your Support Matters - Donate Now

About The Author

TheGuardian

Guardian US is the regional extension of The Guardian, a British daily newspaper originally known as the Manchester Guardian from 1821 to 1959. This article from theguardian.com is published under the limited redistribution rights of its open license terms. Syndicated courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.