COVID and children: What we have learned in past 7 months
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The days of when we could go without a mask, didn’t have to social distance and could hug the ones we loved seem so long ago. It’s been seven months since COVID hit our area and so much has changed and what we have learned about the virus.
Dr. Kris Bryant, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Norton Children’s and UofL, says the original data about the coronavirus came from China. Early in the pandemic, it seemed like there was a silver lining about the virus that was sweeping across the world.
“The thought was only a small number of cases of COVID-19 occurred in children,” Bryant said.
Bryant said that lead many people to wonder if kids were not as susceptible to COVID.
“In the initial household studies, it appeared it was much more likely for an adult to infect a child than the other way around,” Bryant said. “Some raised the question do kids not transmit the virus very well?”
Bryant says as we’ve accumulated more COVID cases in children, health leaders have learned over the months that children are susceptible, they do get sick with COVID and most have mild disease, a small number will get very sick and need to be hospitalized.
“National data suggests that if kids get hospitalized with COVID about 1/3 will end up in the ICU,” Bryant said. “We do know that sometimes children infect other people whether in their families or community.”
The CDC is also still learning about MIS-C, a severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, and how it affects kids. MIS-C is a new disease that appears to be linked to the coronavirus. In addition, Bryant says we are still learning about babies born to moms with active COVID infection. We don’t know what the long-term impact is.
“We know that most of these babies look perfectly normal at birth but, ultimately we may follow that more closely and just make sure that exposure to COVID doesn’t have long-term consequences,” Bryant said.
Bryant says COVID is a novel virus so we are learning something about it every day, and one of the biggest things we are learning is how science works. COVID has been a hard lesson for the public.
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