Children’s coronavirus cases are not as severe, but that doesn’t make them less serious

Children do not seem to be catching the coronavirus in the same numbers as adults, and if they do, they are not developing severe symptoms, according to data from Chinese health officials.
Children do not seem to be catching the coronavirus in the same numbers as adults, and if they do, they are not developing severe symptoms, according to data from Chinese health officials. (Shutterstock)

Germs spread easily among children. So as the coronavirus spreads, parents, teachers, caregivers and others have increasing concerns about how the disease affects them -- but there is some good news.

Children do not seem to be catching the virus in the same numbers as adults, and if they do, they are not developing severe symptoms, according to data from Chinese health officials.

Here's what we know right now about the impact of the coronavirus on children.

Are children getting sick?

Yes, children are catching the coronavirus, but they're generally developing mild cases of the illness.

Out of nearly 45,000 confirmed cases in China through February 11, there was only one death in someone younger than 20, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and no deaths among children younger than 10.

Out of 731 confirmed and 1412 suspected cases of Covid-19 in children in China, one child, a 14-year-old boy, died and nearly 6% of cases were severe, compared with 18.5% of adults experiencing severe symptoms, according to a new study that will be published in the journal Pediatrics in June. Also, only 6% of cases were severe, compared with 18.5% of adult cases.

Dr. Arthur Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley, said the numbers show children carry the coronavirus but are not developing severe symptoms.