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These Are The Kids Hit Hardest By COVID


An analysis of thousands of medical records finds teens, children with diabetes or cancer, lower-income families, and Black, Latinx and Asian groups are hit the hardest when it comes to children who were tested and treated for COVID-19.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is part of the most comprehensive analysis to date of more than 135,000 U.S. children between January and September 2020. The findings were reported by PEDSnet, an organization that represents seven of the nation's largest pediatric medical centers, including Cincinnati Children's.

The results are published in JAMA Pediatrics Monday.

"These findings are important because they improve our understanding of the impact of COVID-19 in the pediatric population," says Nathan Pajor, MD, a pulmonary medicine specialist at Cincinnati Children’s and a co-author of the study. "We see that relative to adults, kids are less likely to have severe disease or to die from COVID-19. However, we also notice the disproportionately high rates of infection among Black, Asian and Hispanic children as a clear target of further study."

Here are highlights of the analysis, according to a news release from Children's:

  • Like previous smaller studies the data shows that children are less likely to test positive and less likely to suffer severe illness when they do get infected.
  • Patients of African-American, Hispanic and Asian race/ethnicity were less likely than white children to be tested. However they were 2-4 times more likely to test positive.
  • Teens and young adults were more likely to test positive than younger children.
  • Children covered by Medicaid and other public programs were more likely to test positive than children from privately insured families.
  • Underlying cancer, diabetes (Types 1 and 2), and other immune-suppressive conditions were indicators of increased risk of severe disease. But children with asthma were not found to be at increased risk of severe illness.
  • Among the 5,374 children who tested positive, 7% required hospital admissions. Of those hospitalized, 28% required intensive care and 9% required mechanical ventilation. Of the hospitalized children, eight died. (Case fatality rate: 0.2%)

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With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.