The idea that COVID-19 is sparing of young people is just false. Parents need to continue to take the virus seriously."
Lawrence C Kleinman, MD, MPH
Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Development/
Chief, Division of Population Health, Quality, and Implementation Sciences
Department of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Recent reports indicate that children, teens, and young adults are at greater risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and most of the children admitted to pediatric intensive care units have underlying conditions, such as kidney transplant recipients who are immunosuppressant medication.
Published findings -
A newly published study followed 48 children and young adults (newborns to 21 years old) who were admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the United States and Canada for COVID-19 in March and April. Over 80% of the patients had chronic underlying conditions.
During the 3-week study period, over 20% of these patients experienced failure of 2 or more organ systems due to COVID-19, and nearly 40% required a breathing tube and ventilator. At the end of the follow-up period, nearly 33% of the children were still hospitalized due to COVID-19, with 3 still needing ventilator support, 1 child on life support, and 2 children died.
New developments -
Even more recently, a growing number of children have been identified who appear to have a different response to COVID-19, which doctors are calling Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. The symptoms of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome include a persistent fever, rash, as well as gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Patients can also suffer from cardiac inflammation. In the coming days, the CDC is expected to issue guidance with information for treatment.
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