Though children are the lowest risk proportion of the population for being infected with COVID-19, it can still be a risk for them, especially as officials look at loosening or lifting certain social distancing measures and reopening schools.
WEDNESDAY, April 22, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- While children seem to have been largely spared from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, a new study suggests it's possible that up to 50,000 U.S. children might end up hospitalized with COVID-19 by the end of 2020.
And, if around 25% of the U.S. population has been infected with COVID-19 by the end of this year, it's likely that more than 5,000 children and teens would be critically ill and require mechanical ventilation, the researchers estimated.
"We don't want to be alarmist. Children are still the lowest risk proportion of the population. But it would be a mistake to think that COVID-19 isn't a risk for everyone," said study author Jason Salemi. He's an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida's College of Public Health, in Tampa.
Salemi said it's particularly important to think about risk as officials discuss lifting restrictions that have helped lessen the impact of the disease. These mitigation measures have included things like school and business closures.
"By using these mitigation strategies, it looks like we have been flattening the curve, and if we keep on with what we're doing, we may not overwhelm our health care system," he said.
But if mitigation measures are lifted or loosened, infection rates may go up again. Hospitals may see a renewed influx of patients, including pediatric ones. And, it's important to plan for sick children because they present additional challenges, such as a need for smaller medical supplies, and how to design policies that allow a parent to safely stay with a sick child, Salemi explained.