While most of these cases are currently adults, children can still be infected with Covid-19. However, research has shown there are far fewer cases of the virus reported in kids – even though our first case in Malta was actually a 12 year old!
The outbreak was first reported on December 31, but no children younger than 15 years old had been diagnosed as of January 22.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine said at the time that “children might be less likely to become infected or, if infected, may show milder symptoms” than adults. Since then, doctors have recorded just a handful of cases among children.
A study of coronavirus cases from December 8, 2019, to February 6, 2020 found that nine infants under one year old had been infected with the virus in China. None of the infants had severe complications or required intensive care, so the researchers suggested that some infants might be contracting milder cases of the virus that don’t always manifest in physical symptoms.
Despite this, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), limited reports of children with Covid-19 have described the below symptoms:
- A runny nose
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A high temperature
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Difficulty breathing
These symptoms are similar to other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and the common cold. However, this new strain is said to more likely to trigger a cough and fever, experts have noted. And they warn the condition can progress and victims can develop severe complications.
If your child shows any of the above symptoms or you’re concerned they may have coronavirus make sure you keep them off school to stop the bug from spreading, and follow guidelines by calling 111.
Despite this, for the most part, kids do not seem very vulnerable to the virus – with men and those with underlying health conditions far more susceptible to being infected with Covid-19.
“From everything that we’ve seen, and for reasons that are unclear to us, it does seem that this is primarily impacting adults,” Richard Martinello, an associate professor of infectious disease at the Yale School of Medicine, told Business Insider. Similarly, the CDC has revealed that pregnant women are no more susceptible to infection or increase risk of mortality with Covid-19.
Health experts say a low case count among kids is a good thing because children are less likely to wash their hands, cover their mouths, and refrain from touching others — all behaviours that can spread germs.
Doctors say there are two possible explanations for why so few children have contracted Covid-19 – they’ve either been less likely to be exposed in the first place, or there’s something different about how their bodies respond to the virus.
Children and their family members should engage in usual preventive actions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Parents should encourage thorough hand washing, throwing tissues straight in the bin and avoiding people who are ill.
Health bosses say the best way to protect yourself is to wash your hands with soap and water for the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
Happy Birthday takes about 20 seconds to sing twice and is said to be the perfect number to clean your hands to thoroughly.