In a new study, researchers found new evidence that children infected with COVID-19 have less severe symptoms than adults with the coronavirus.
The team analyzed the cases of 731 children in China with laboratory test-confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 1,412 children who were suspected of having COVID-19.
They found most of those 2,143 cases were mild, and only one child died. Close to 6% of the children’s cases were severe or critical, compared with 18.5% of cases in adults.
It’s not clear why children with COVID-19 tend not to become as ill as adults.
Researchers say it’s possible that the receptor for the virus may not be in the same configuration in children as adults. It’s possible that there were just more adults who were tested because that has been the focus.
However, there have been other studies of pregnant women and children who did not have a severe disease.
It is possible that the immune response of children is different. Their immune system is young and evolving.
The study also provides strong evidence of person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus.
More than 90% of all the children in the study were asymptomatic or showed mild or common forms of illness—and about 13% of the children who tested positive for the virus didn’t have symptoms of illness.
When people have symptoms of the disease, it might be possible to contain it faster, but it’s unknown if children with no symptoms of illness can spread the coronavirus to others.
Previous research has found that while infants can become infected with the coronavirus, their illness is milder than in older people and in those with chronic health problems.
Another study found that even though children infected with the coronavirus typically have only mild symptoms, they can shed the coronavirus long after they no longer have symptoms.
The new study is published in Pediatrics.
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