Like everyone, the life of children is also changed by this deadly pandemic this year. Nurseries and schools remained closed for most of the time. Meeting friends, playdates, and park visits were all canceled. More importantly, kids were frightened by this uncertain situation as their tiny minds are unable to process this whole concept of a pandemic. While coronavirus can largely affect children, its onset is very different in infants who don’t seem to be much affected by it.
A new study conducted on understanding the effects of coronavirus on infants during the first wave of the pandemic showed that they were not affected severely. This data obtained from February to May reveals that most children quickly healed and experienced mild viral symptoms.
Dr. Fatima Kakkar, from the Université de Montréal, was the lead researcher of this study. The complete findings are now published in the JAMA Network Open online.
Children even from a very young age can get affected by the coronavirus and show symptoms but it is also possible for them to not show any symptoms at all. Most children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 exhibited mild symptoms as compared to adults. Many of them reported having a low-grade fever, chills, fatigue, and moderate cough. Only some of them experienced complications but it was rare.
All across Canada, infants seem to be more affected by the COVID-19 which is significantly higher than all other pediatric groups. In the new study which investigated 1,165 infants, at least 25 children were confirmed having COVID-19. And one-third of these people needed hospitalization for extreme care.
These hospitalizations were somehow very short-termed and on average these infants identified with coronavirus spent only two days in the hospital. Some of them spent a little more time as a part of observation where all newborns reported with fever were admitted.
In 19% of these cases, there were other infections involved in fever such as urinary tract infections in infants and it wasn’t coronavirus. 89% of cases in infants reported mild symptoms and even after hospitalization, none of them needed a ventilator or oxygen to feel better.
This data was collected during the first wave of coronavirus where it was little known about the virus and infection both. There was no information available on how coronavirus particularly affects infants and children. The limited data provided only a few cases where infants and adults were hospitalized at a larger scale and experienced severe symptoms.
In general, infants and newborns are at high risk of any infectious disease for example influenza. So researchers were assuming the same to be true for the coronavirus however, it turned out to be much different.
These results are reassuring for the parents who were worried about their children’s health. Understanding how coronavirus may affect infants will help to design a prevention or care plan for children. But even at this point, it is hard to say why infants are not much affected by this virus.
There are many other studies which are currently working on understanding the differences in various immunological response towards this virus. Once these results are published, the risk for age pediatric group can be predicted.