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The CDC study finds that the coronavirus rarely kills children, but minorities are at a higher risk

Children of racial and ethnic minorities, those with underlying health conditions, and those aged 18 to 20 are more likely to die, wrote a CDC-led research team in a study published Tuesday in the Weekly Report of Morbidity and agency mortality.

The report also showed how unusual it is for children and young adults to die from the coronavirus. Of the 190,000 deaths counted in the country, only 0.08 percent – or 121 – were reported in those under 21. The most up-to-date report from the CDC shows 377 children, adolescents and young adults aged up to 24 have died from coronavirus.

The researchers asked 50 states, New York City, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands to provide information on coronavirus deaths among children under 21

, between February 12 and July 31. Forty-seven jurisdictions responded.

Among the roughly 6.5 million Covid-19 cases in the country, researchers found a total of 391,814 Covid-19 and MIS-C cases in those under 21. While people under 21 make up 26% of the US population, they make up only 8% of all reported cases.

Hispanics, blacks and American Indians / Alaskans have been disproportionately affected. A total of 44% of the 121 deaths were Hispanic children, 29% were black children, 4% were American Indian / Alaskan natives, and 4% were Asian or Pacific Islanders. Although these groups represent 41% of the US population under the age of 21, they accounted for approximately 75% of deaths in that age group. Fourteen percent of deaths occurred in white children.

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“Infants, children, adolescents and young adults, particularly those from racial and ethnic minorities at higher risk, those with underlying medical conditions and their caregivers, need clear, consistent, and health-related COVID-19 prevention. appropriate development, linguistic and cultural messages, “wrote the researchers.

While 25% of the deaths involved previously healthy children, 75% had at least one underlying health condition and 45% had two or more. The most frequently reported medical conditions were chronic lung diseases, including asthma; obesity; neurological and developmental conditions and cardiovascular conditions.

The breakdown between the different age groups varied substantially, with those in the younger age groups doing better than adolescents and young adults. About 10% of deaths occurred in infants under 1 year of age, a further 9% in infants between 1 and 4 years, with another 11% in the 5-9 range and 10% in the 10-13 range. But nearly 20% of deaths were found among teenagers aged 14 to 17 and over 40% between 18 and 20.

This somehow matches previous CDC statistics which found that children aged 0 to 4 are four times less likely to be hospitalized and nine times less likely to die than young people aged 18 to 29 and children between the ages of 5 and 17 are nine times less likely to be hospitalized and 16 times less likely to die than young people between the ages of 18 and 29.

Boys fared worse than girls: boys accounted for 63% of deaths compared to 37% of girls.

Even children without symptoms can spread Covid-19, the CDC report shows

Even though children are less likely to become seriously ill and die, they can still be infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others, according to numerous studies.

For example, in a study published last week in MMWR, researchers analyzed contact tracking data of 184 people with links to three child care facilities in Salt Lake County from April through July.

They found at least two children who had no symptoms not only caught the virus but passed it on to other people, including a mother who was hospitalized. An eight month old baby infected both parents.

“Infected children exposed in these three facilities had mild to no symptoms. Two of the three asymptomatic children likely passed SARS-CoV-2 to their parents and possibly their teachers,” the County Department of Health researchers wrote. Salt Lake in their report. .

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Another study from South Korea analyzed data on 91 asymptomatic, presymptomatic and symptomatic children diagnosed with Covid-19 between February 18 and March 31 in 22 centers across the country. It was found that 22% of the children were asymptomatic. The study was published in late August in JAMA Pediatrics.
“This highlights the concept that infected children may be more likely to go unnoticed with or without symptoms and continue with their normal activities, which can contribute to viral circulation within their community,” wrote two doctors at the Children’s National Hospital. of Washington, DC, in an accompanying editorial.

CDC researchers in the current study said it’s important to keep an eye on children infected with Covid-19. “Although infants, children and adolescents are more likely to have milder COVID-19 disease than adults, complications occur in these populations, including MIS-C and respiratory failure. People infected or exposed to SARS- CoV-2 should be followed closely so that clinical deterioration can be detected early, “they wrote.

Jacqueline Howard, Sandee Lamotte and Lauren Mascaren contributed to this report.

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