COVID-19 infection in children

Ian P Sinha Rachel Harwood Malcolm G Semple Daniel B Hawcutt Rebecca Thursfield Omendra Narayan et al.

Published: March 27, 2020



Severe COVID-19 in children is rare. To date, the largest review of children with COVID-19 included 2143 children in China. Only 112 (5·6%) of 2143 children had severe disease (defined as hypoxia) and 13 (0·6%) children developed respiratory or multiorgan failure or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). At the time of writing, there have been two reported deaths in children testing positive for COVID-19 in China, and no deaths in Italy. We are waiting for formal reports of outcomes in children from other countries but to date, no deaths have been reported in the published literature. These figures are in stark contrast to the 4% global mortality rate in adults with COVID-19.

Although the death rate from COVID-19 in children is low, medical professionals and parents are concerned about the health of children in the UK. Parents and health-care professionals are rightly concerned because COVID-19 is a novel disease, with a weak evidence-base on which to formulate clinical decisions. Most literature relates to adult disease, but these findings are not always transferrable to children. For example, in adults, certain findings are associated with severe illness, such as high serum ferritin and bilateral abnormalities on chest CT. It is hard to determine common clinical characteristics in children with severe disease, and it is unclear whether there is a common biomarker, due to the small number of cases.

social media

Mainstream and social media are important for sharing information and uniting people during difficult times of social distancing and isolation. There are huge advantages to being able to spread information throughout a population at an unprecedented rate, including public health messages, morale-boosting stories, and tips and ideas generated by members of the public. With this rapid spread of information, however, comes the risk of misinformation. The pressure to keep up with breaking news has led to a reduction in checking of integrity of facts before reports are published, and due to the nature of social media, political and personal viewpoints can drive a narrative that undermines public health efforts or cause confusion.“


The Lancet – DOI: