Kids, this comic is for you.
You've been living through this pandemic for months, and you might be feeling sad, frustrated or upset. But there are lots of different ways to deal with your worries – and make yourself feel better. Here are some tips and advice to help you through.
Based on current research and our own experiences, it would seem that kids 17 years old and younger face little risk from the coronavirus. Nearly all children have asymptomatic, very mild or mild disease, but a small percentage of children do get very sick. Additionally, there is evidence that children can spread the virus to others, and with huge outbreaks occurring all across the U.S, these realities raise serious concerns about school reopenings and how children should navigate the pandemic world.
Here’s what we know about the mysterious and frightening ailment that doctors are seeing in a small but growing number of very young Covid-19 patients.
Most child cases of Covid are mild. But some kids have longer-term symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal problems. So far the main complication in children with Covid is multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a serious inflammatory syndrome where different body parts—including the heart and brain—can become inflamed, causing a fever, stomach pain, rash and gastrointestinal symptoms
Over all, the study both reinforces the evidence that only a small percentage of children will be severely affected by the virus and confirms that some can become devastatingly ill.
As scientists study the burden of COVID-19 around the globe, it's pretty clear that despite some cases of serious illness, kids tend to get infected with the coronavirus less often and have milder symptoms compared to adults. What's much less understood is the extent to which kids can spread the illness among themselves — or to the adults with whom they come in close contact.
Pediatricians say parents should not panic; the condition remains extremely rare. But researchers also are taking a close look at this emerging syndrome, and say parents should be on the lookout for symptoms in their kids that might warrant a quick call to the doctor — a persistent high fever over several days and significant abdominal pains with repeated vomiting, after which the child does not feel better.
We need to know the facts about kids and COVID-19. Now.
Gathering data from schoolchildren comes with layers of complexity beyond those of traditional pediatric research. In addition to seeking consent from parents and children, it often requires buy-in from teachers and school administrators who are already overwhelmed by their new reality. Integrating research—the only sure way to gauge the success of their varied strategies—may be too much to ask.
“You have to talk to children, you cannot leave children with their fears,” he said. “It’s better to talk rather than avoid talking.”
The evidence so far suggests that children are less vulnerable to the effects of the coronavirus, but they can still be infected. Why does the virus seem to affect children differently?
COVID-19 is much less severe in children, and it could have to do with a child’s still-developing immune system.
Studies find that overall risk of death or severe disease from COVID-19 is very low in kids.
It isn’t clear whether the Delta variant is making kids sicker than they would have been if infected with previous strains. Some pediatricians believe that is the case because of the severity of the cases they have treated. Other pediatricians don’t think Delta is causing more severe Covid-19 in children than earlier variants. But with Delta spreading widely, the number of children hospitalized with Covid-19 far outstrips anything they saw in the past.
On a population-adjusted basis, the weekly average of US children admitted to hospitals with Covid-19 is rising faster than any other age group.
After spending much of the past year tending to elderly patients, doctors are seeing a clear demographic shift: young and middle-aged adults make up a growing share of the patients in COVID-19 hospital wards.
It's both a sign of the country's success in protecting the elderly through vaccination and an urgent reminder that younger generations will pay a heavy price if the outbreak is allowed to simmer in communities across the country.
"The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination," officials said in a statement. "Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, we know that myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if you get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe."
“The challenge in this age group is they know that the risk to them is pretty low from this virus — we shouldn’t be dishonest about that. It’s helping them be motivated enough to protect others … to overcome their own personal ambivalence,” said Sarah Van Orman, division chief of college health at the University of Southern California.
If the trend of missed vaccinations continues, pediatricians worry that the U.S. could experience outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases to deal with after, or even on top of, the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is new evidence that some children may become very sick, and we are beginning to learn more about who may be most at risk and what parents need to watch for.
It is not yet clear whether the Delta variant causes more severe disease in children, but its high level of infectiousness is causing a surge of pediatric Covid-19 cases.
Even as cases drop among vaccinated Americans, the coronavirus still can spread among unvaccinated people—who will be disproportionately children.
A vaccine for adults and older teens has been authorized. But younger children will have to wait. Here’s what parents need to know.
The first two years of life are a time of astonishing brain growth. What has that meant for the toddlers who have only known a world with COVID?