- Children and infants can, in fact, be infected with COVID-19
- They tend to display milder symptoms
- Some adolescents have died from the virus
Evidence suggests that COVID-19 may be less harmful to children than it is to adults. This has led to broad speculation that children are immune to the virus. Despite data showing that cases in children are often less severe, kids can absolutely be infected with coronavirus.
People under the age of 18 may experience different symptoms than older patients, per the CDC. Many cases of COVID-19 reported in minors did not report coughing, fever, or shortness of breath—the most common symptoms for those suffering from the coronavirus. A smaller percentage of children were hospitalized due to their symptoms than older patients. Most suffer mild or asymptomatic cases.
Despite these facts, deaths have still been reported among COVID-19-infected pediatric patients, as well as among older children. Severe symptoms requiring hospitalization have also been reported among the age group. A 9-year-old from Leon County, Florida tested positive for COVID-19 on April 9. The death of a teenaged patient in Los Angeles is also being linked to the virus.
In May, doctors in the U.S. and in Europe warned that they’re seeing more cases of children who have been infected with the coronavirus also suffering from a “multi-system inflammatory syndrome.” Fifteen children ranging in age from 2-15 in New York City were recently hospitalized with signs of Kawasaki disease, a heart condition in children.
For parents concerned that their child may have contracted the virus, there are multiple online resources. They include advising parents on best mask-wearing procedures for infants, toddlers, and children, as well as resources to speak with their doctor remotely and explanations of when to seek urgent care.
Early evidence points toward the potential that very young infants and males may be more vulnerable to COVID-19. Younger patients have often developed more severe symptoms, perhaps in part due to the immune system developing over time. Very young infants do not yet have the same protection as older children.
Data from a number of countries shows that men represent 68% of confirmed coronavirus deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Research also shows that men are 50% more likely than women to die from the virus. This appears to be particularly true for male children.