Houston News : Infants can get severely ill from COVID-19, study says

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FILE – In this Sunday, March 15, 2020 photo, Pastor Wilbur Purvis III, right, dedicates infant Michael Kirkland to the Lord while preaching on the COVID-19 coronavirus during a worship service at Destiny World Church in Austell, Ga. The congregation took a special offering to adopt a local apartment complex to supply lunch to needy school children for the next two weeks. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) less
FILE – In this Sunday, March 15, 2020 photo, Pastor Wilbur Purvis III, right, dedicates infant Michael Kirkland to the Lord while preaching on the COVID-19 coronavirus during a worship service at Destiny World … more

Photo: Curtis Compton, AP

Photo: Curtis Compton, AP

FILE – In this Sunday, March 15, 2020 photo, Pastor Wilbur Purvis III, right, dedicates infant Michael Kirkland to the Lord while preaching on the COVID-19 coronavirus during a worship service at Destiny World Church in Austell, Ga. The congregation took a special offering to adopt a local apartment complex to supply lunch to needy school children for the next two weeks. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP) less
FILE – In this Sunday, March 15, 2020 photo, Pastor Wilbur Purvis III, right, dedicates infant Michael Kirkland to the Lord while preaching on the COVID-19 coronavirus during a worship service at Destiny World … more

Photo: Curtis Compton, AP

Infants can get severely ill from COVID-19, study says

Children of all ages can become seriously ill from the new coronavirus, research suggests. Infants and toddlers were found to be particularly vulnerable.

While symptoms in COVID-19 pediatric patients are generally less severe than those seen in adults, a study of cases in China published by the Journal Pediatrics says children can experience critical symptoms, such as respiratory distress or failure.

China’s Center for Disease Control received reports of 2,143 children with the virus between Jan. 16 and Feb. 8. Of those cases, 34 percent were confirmed with laboratory testing and the remainder were classified as suspected COVID-19. The median age of the pediatric patients was 7.

Four percent of the children in the study showed no symptoms. About half had mild symptoms and more than one third exhibited moderate symptoms.

Six percent of the cases were severe, amounting to 125 children seriously ill from the virus. Of those cases, 13 children were in critical condition and likely to experience respiratory or organ failure, according to the study.

One child— a 14-year-old boy from the Hubei province — died on Feb. 7.

“Immune system immaturity” makes young children more likely to become sick, Baylor College of Medicine Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Andrea Cruz told the New York Times. Because children haven’t previously been exposed to many viruses, Cruz believes their immune systems are not prepared to fight COVID-19.

Early data from China had suggested that most coronavirus deaths occurred among patients over 60 or people who had underlying health problems. And children currently make up the smallest age group of confirmed cases globally so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No one under 19 has died from the virus in the United States, according to a morbidity report released Wednesday by the CDC.

Because the epidemic is rapidly evolving and many children are still currently hospitalized because of the virus, more detailed patient information for clinical review should be collected in the future, according to the researchers who studied the pediatric cases in China.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Thursday declaring a state health disaster, closed all schools and prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people. The order does not apply to the state’s 17,000 child care centers. Licensed facilities as well as group and family homes remain open.

Though daycares are in operation, Chambers County Local Heath Authority Dr. W. Clay Brown issued a statement cautioning parents to avoid child care if possible.

“Daycares have always been a source of transmission for viral disease and should be avoided if possible during this health crisis,” Brown said.

The governor’s order did, however, trigger the Department of Child Care Regulation to launch its emergency management plan.

“The (disaster) declaration ensures that local officials have access to any state resources that may require them to respond in case of an outbreak,” the statement reads.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services last week provided new guidance to child care centers during the pandemic.

“Protecting the health and safety of children in the settings we regulate is paramount,” David Kostroun, the agency’s deputy executive commissioner, said in a statement. “We are taking these proactive measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard children and their families.”

Pick-ups and drop-offs are now required to take place outside of the operation, unless the parent has a legitimate need to go inside.

Now, only enrolled children, staff, guardians and people who provide services to children, such as law-enforcement officers and licensing inspectors, are allowed to enter child care centers.

Those allowed to enter must be screened with temperature checks every day. People with high temperatures, signs of respiratory infection, who have had contact with a person confirmed to have the virus within 14 days.

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Source : chron.com