Reassurance on COVID and school children: Respected study shows ‘tiny’ risk

skynews social distancing classroom
Social distancing in UK classrooms. Credit: Skynews

Children’s risk of needing hospital treatment for coronavirus is “tiny” and critical care “even tinier,” [researchers] say.

However, black children, those who are obese and very young babies have a slightly higher risk.

The BMJ study looked at 651 children with coronavirus in hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland.

It covers two-thirds of all children’s admissions in the UK due to Covid-19 between January and July and confirms what is already known about the minimal effects of the virus on children.

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A “strikingly low” 1% of these 651 children and young people – six in total – had died in hospital with Covid-19 compared with 27% across all other age groups, the study found.

Eighteen per cent of the children needed intensive care.

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And the six who had died had had “profound” underlying health conditions that had often been complex and themselves life-limiting.

Children with such conditions remained vulnerable to the virus and must take precautions, the researchers said.

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But for others, the risk was extremely low.

“There have been no deaths in otherwise healthy school-age children,” said study author Prof Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool.

“There is no direct harm from children going back to school,” he added.

Co-author Dr Olivia Swann, from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, in Edinburgh, said she hoped the findings would be “extremely reassuring for parents across the UK”.

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