U.S. children with coronavirus are less hard hit than adults, first data shows

A new CDC report found that children represent a small portion of American COVID-19 cases so far and appear less likely to become seriously ill. The study revealed that 2,572 of the nearly 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported nationwide between February 12 and April 2 were patients younger than age 18 years, with a median age of 11 years.

A new CDC report found that children represent a small portion of American COVID-19 cases so far and appear less likely to become seriously ill. The study revealed that 2,572 of the nearly 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported nationwide between February 12 and April 2 were patients younger than age 18 years, with a median age of 11 years. Those cases included 850 from New York City, 584 from the rest of New York state, and 393 from New Jersey. Of the 745 cases with data on whether the child was hospitalized, 147 children—roughly a fifth—were reported to have been hospitalized. Among adults that rate is about a third, the report said. The study also found that 40% of pediatric hospitalizations, or 59 cases, were for babies younger than age 1 year, and 5 of the 15 children admitted to intensive care were babies. Just a third of the cases studied had information on whether the child was hospitalized, and only 13% had information on whether the child had other underlying medical conditions. The researchers acknowledged that their analysis "might underestimate severity of disease or symptoms that manifested later in the course of illness." Researchers are now examining potential reasons why children appear relatively protected from severe disease. Some believe a receptor in human cells called ACE2 that the viral particles bind to is not expressed as extensively in young children or might be a different shape.