As the children are going back to school, the nation cannot help but focus on what this could mean for the children’s safety. New reports show that there is an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the US, and the cases are expected to increase with the colder months around the corner.
According to the August reports from respectable news sources, there has been a 90% increase in children COVID-19 cases. The reports are being updated weekly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. Currently, there are approximately 680 cases per 100,000 children in the population. And, the first week in September has seen an increase of 16% in child cases.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at the child mortality caused by the COVID-19. This way we’ll have a clear picture of how dangerous the increase in cases is, and what we can do to lower it.
Children And COVID-19 – What We Know So Far?
- Children under the age of 18 who are infected by the COVID-19 virus are asymptomatic or show mild symptoms. When it comes to the hospitalization of children, the median duration is 2.5 days.
- Compared to the adults, the infection rate for children in the US is low; only one in three hospitalized children were admitted to an intensive care unit, according to the CDC.
- Despite the low hospitalization rate, children are still at risk for severe COVID-19. It is essential to continue to reinforce preventive measures that serve children, especially at schools and childcare centers.
- African-American and Hispanic children are more likely to get infected than white, non-Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander children are. The rates among black and Hispanic children are almost 8 times higher than in white children.
- The most prevalent underlying conditions in infected children include obesity (37.8%), chronic lung disease (18%), and prematurity (15.4%).
Children Mortality And COVID-19
Death Rate In The US And Canada
According to the latest reports, children comprised so far 0% to 0.3% of all COVID-19 deaths in the USA. So far, 18 states reported 0 child deaths when it comes to COVID-19. In states reporting currently shows that 0% to 0.2% of all child COVID-19 cases resulted in death. There have been individual cases of COVID-19 death in individuals younger than 20. For example, in April a 17-year old girl in Lancaster died from complications related to COVID-19. In July as well, a 6-week old infant died from the same complications.
However, the exact numbers of COVID-19 related deaths are currently unknown. You may find some speculations and alleged numbers on the Internet, but because not every single infant or child’s death is being analyzed and investigated, the number of fatalities is questionable.
In Canada, on the other hand, the death rate is about 1 per 10,000 infected individuals. Moreover, the death rate is also about 1 per 8000 infected children. This means that less than 0.013% of young COVID-19 patients in Canada have died.
Death Rate In Europe
So far, studies in Europe showed that COVID-19-related deaths in children are extremely rare. One particular study led by researchers in Britain, Austria, and Spain showed that of nearly 600 infected children under the age of 18, only a quarter had underlying medical conditions. Moreover, 60% of the children required medical care, 8% required intensive care and only 4 children died from COVID-19.
Fever and coughing were usually the main symptoms of COVID-19 in the observed children, and the underlying medical conditions included leukemia, respiratory or lung complications, cardiorespiratory arrest, human stem cell transplantation, immune system issues, etc.
Death Rate In The Rest Of The World
When it comes to the rest of the world, here’s what we know so far. In China, the death rate for children COVID-19-related deaths is unclear. So far, it is believed that patients between the age between 1 and 7 all recovered after median hospitalization of 7.5 days. It is also believed that the infected children were completely asymptomatic and that they were infected by a milder phenotype of COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Australian Health Protection Agency has reported that children accounted for only 4% of all confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia. There are no official reports of children COVID-19-related deaths so far.
In India, there have been so far 7 deaths of children between the age of 0 and 10, and 15 deaths of children between the age of 10 and 20. These numbers are not official and are claims of the local news sources.
When it comes to the other parts of the world, the children’s death rates are usually counted as general COVID-19-related death rates. That is why it is extremely hard to gather credible and official information about the death rate for children. Luckily, what we know so far is that COVID-19-related deaths in children are extremely rare. Children seem to be more resilient when it comes to coronavirus and seem to get better much faster than adults.
Children And COVID-19 Transmission
Even though the coronavirus may not pose a threat to children as we thought it did, children can still transmit the virus just like adults. One study shows that children younger than the age of 5 can carry a higher viral load than adults. This all raises numerous questions regarding children and their role in virus transmission. The study did not measure transmissibility, but it surely implied that children can be key players in virus transmission. This could be a major red flag, just as the schools are being reopened.
What Can We Do?
So, the death rate for children is incredibly low, luckily. But, this doesn’t mean that children cannot get infected or transmit the virus to other children and adults. That is why it is essential to act on time and prevent more transmission and a possible increase in the death rate.
What we can do is teach and constantly remind the children how important it is to wash hands. This, alongside social distancing, can be essential to the prevention of virus transmission among children, especially at schools and childcare centers.
It is also important to mention that current facial masks are not created to be worn by children, nor are they recommended to be used as such. The CDC and the WHO state that face masks cannot protect children younger than 12 from virus transmission and infection. This is mostly because masks don’t fit their smaller faces and may cause further respiratory complications. So, hand washing and social distancing are the main preventive measures when it comes to kids.
Nevertheless, the main responsibility is reserved for adults. By wearing masks in public and closed facilities, especially around children, we can lower the transmission rate as well as children’s infection rate. Of course, social distancing and handwashing measures also apply alongside facial masks.
At this time, it seems that severe illness and mortality due to COVID-19 is rare among children. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have to take care of them and still follow measures like mask-wearing and hand washing, especially around kids. Medical care and hospitalizations need to be available to children everywhere, and they should be taken care of regardless of whether they’re symptomatic or asymptomatic.
Only then can we prevent the death rate from increasing. For more information about children and COVID-19, make sure to check the CDC and the WHO official websites. They publish regular updates, alongside guidelines and preventive recommendations.