Coronavirus Infecting Children, Boys More at Risk

Coronavirus Infecting Children, Boys More at Risk 1

Sick Child (Octavi, the artist's son) by Ricard Canals (1876 - 1931)

Statistics released on Monday, April 6, 2020, from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report revealed that there is a higher prevalence of COVID-19 in all male age groups of pediatrics, including infants. Out of 149,750 coronavirus cases studied, there were 2,572 pediatric cases found, and of those cases, 57% were boys ranging from newborns to age 18.

The researchers who did the study concluded that the higher rate of positive tests in males in every pediatric age group “suggests that biologic factors might play a role in any differences in COVID-19 susceptibility by sex.” Gregory A. Poland, MD, an infectious diseases expert and head of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group, said, “In fact, women also tolerate starvation and dehydration and survive longer than men do in austere environments… so there does appear to be a sex advantage on the side of females that males don’t have,” implying a better immune system response.

Over a third of the cases found in pediatrics were teens between the ages of 15 and 17, and the median age of the over 2,500 children with coronavirus was 11. The report found that children who become infected with COVID-19 are less likely to show symptoms, and they are also less likely to become hospitalized. This also means that cases may be less severe in children than cases in adults and that children (age 18 or younger) may experience different symptoms than adults. It is important to note that there was only data on symptoms from 291 of the 2,572 pediatric cases, and of those 291 cases, 78 patients (27%) did not have fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Still, the risk for children getting infected remains very low. Only 5% of children were hospitalized, and those who do report symptoms show a cough and/or fever. Additionally, only 0.1% of children who were infected died.

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