Doctors are increasingly confident that children are less affected by the new coronavirus than adults, a finding that could aid governments considering next steps in reopening economies.
Medical professionals recognized early in the global pandemic that children generally appeared to be less susceptible to falling ill from the new bug, with fewer confirmed cases, hospital admissions, serious complications or deaths than their parents or grandparents.
Only 1.7% of nearly 150,000 infections were found in people under 18 years of age, according to a nationwide analysis of U.S. data published this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Now a review of 67 studies from across the world by a network of child-health experts who pore over evidence to aid clinicians has found broadly the same pattern. From Wuhan in China, where the outbreak began, to the U.S. and Europe, children are far less likely than adults to suffer gravely from Covid-19, with most showing few symptoms. Available data shows only a tiny proportion have succumbed and died.
Some experts caution, though, that while the evidence is persuasive it is incomplete, and there are still risks to some children’s health and the wider community from Covid-19 … if schools open their doors too soon or without new safeguards to limit infection.