While the belief that children can’t be severely affected by COVID-19 has been debunked among healthcare providers, questions remain as to why some children really do get through the virus unscathed while others experience severe disease. A study just published by JAMA Network reveals that certain demographic and clinical characteristics may offer some clues. Looking at discharge data from 869 medical facilities that reported inpatient and emergency room encounters to the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release, researchers found greater incidence of severe disease in younger children (2–11 years of age), boys, and children with at least one chronic condition. They found no statistically significant link between severe disease and race/ethnicity among hospitalized patients when controlling for covariates. Overall, 12% of the 2,430 pediatric patients studied were hospitalized with COVID-19, among whom 756 (31%) had severe disease (defined as a case requiring treatment in an intensive care unit or step-down unit, requiring mechanical ventilation, or resulting in death). While this research was not focused on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), that diagnosis has been associated with severe disease and death among pediatric patients diagnosed with COVID-19. JUCM published an in-depth article on MIS-C recently; you can read Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C): Who Should Not Be MISC’ed? in our archive.
Most Children Fare Well with COVID-19—but New Data May Help Predict Those Who Won’t