Coronavirus and children: why cases in children under 9 years of age do not exceed 1 percent

In the midst of the whirlwind of information circulating about the new coronavirus that surprised the world in December and that this week the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic, the scientific evidence is built minute by minute, based on experience of the countries with the most cases.

In this sense, something that catches the attention of experts is that COVID-19 does not seem to affect children. In fact, it affects them in a very small proportion compared to adults: in the age range that goes from zero to nine years the registered cases do not exceed 1% and mortality is 0%.

Consulted by Infobae, the infectious medicine doctor Eduardo López (MN 37586) acknowledged that “the cause is unknown, but the evidence indicates that there is practically no child who has required intensive therapy, at least this is what happened in China, which is where the most cases are they studied ”.

“It is not really known why they get sick less, but it is remarkable,” said the specialist. Some argue whether the virus receptor at the lung level is fully developed in children compared to adults; Others speak of a certain degree of immunity that would protect them, but the truth is that there are no studies that clarify this. “

And I add: “Although children do not acquire the disease, or do so very mildly, they do transmit it, so the measure to suspend classes that has been taken in many countries is not exaggerated”.

Meanwhile, the infectious medicine doctor Omar Sued, director of investigations of Fundación Huierto (MN 91262), considered that “the virus affects children, but does not cause serious forms of the disease or mortality in themSo it is possible that many have become infected and have not had a high fever or major symptoms and therefore were not reported. “

“On the other hand, since they did not require hospitalization or death, none has passed the infection unnoticed,” added the president of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases, who stressed that “there is no identified biological cause that allows one to think that they are not affected by this virus “

Regarding from what age the coronavirus begins to increase its mortality rate, Sued maintained that “the virus begins to increase the mortality rate in a very important way from the age of 60 and for each decade it doubles: from 60 it is 4%, at 70 it is 8% and at 80, 16% “, that’s why you have to be so careful with older adults

Meanwhile López added that “The group that is most infected is the 45-55 year old, but in them the disease has a good prognosis”.

When asked what happens to pregnant women, López assured that “it is not clearly known what to do with this group because there were very few cases, but what was observed is that the few that had evolved well and had no major complications” . “Through cord blood studies it was determined that there is no significant transmission to the fetus”he stressed.

Pregnant women do not appear to be at higher risk than other people, and the virus does not appear to be transmitted from mother to child either by caesarean section or by delivery.; the only problem we have to solve is what to do with the babies whose mothers were diagnosed with coronavirus, ”Sued added. It is believed that the best thing is that they breastfeed their children with chinstrap or do so after washing their hands very well; “And if they are hospitalized, the ideal would be to give the baby expressed breast milk in a bottle and keep the mother in a separate room.”

About the incubation period and the contagion window

“During the incubation period, the individual is usually asymptomatic and generally infects little or not,” explained López, who noted: “Sometimes the first symptoms are very banal, such as a little sore throat, and yet the person is already it infects. “

And after assuring that “the contagion period begins on day one of symptoms and the maximum peak occurs between the third and sixth day”, the infectologist stated that “There is no efficacy drug treatment defined so far” and that although several antiretroviral drugs are being tested, the current indication for monitoring patients is “supportive”.

In this regard, and about people who come to the country from countries at risk, Sued recommended: “People who arrive have to stay at home for two weeks, check the temperature every 12 hours, avoid close contact, sleep in separate beds, disinfect surfaces well and wash their hands permanently. That, if one is infected, will prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of the family and the spread becomes circulation in the community ”.