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COVID-19 – research evidence summaries

Here we provide a summary of key current evidence regarding COVID-19 in children and young people.

In children, the evidence is now clear that COVID-19 is associated with a considerably lower burden of morbidity and mortality compared to that seen in the elderly. There is evidence of critical illness and death in children, but it is rare.

There is also some evidence that children may be less likely to acquire the infection. The role of children in transmission, once they have acquired the infection, is unclear, although there is no clear evidence that they are any more infectious than adults.

Symptoms are non-specific and most commonly cough and fever. Laboratory and radiological investigations may be normal or mildly altered.

There is some possible evidence of infection in newborns which could indicate vertical transmission, but it is not clear if this is intrauterine or perinatal. Early evidence suggests both infected mothers and newborns are not particularly more severely affected than other groups.

Children with co-morbidities, notably respiratory and complex neurodisability, appear more likely to suffer complications and need hospital +/- PICU admission, but not obviously more than would be expected from infection with other respiratory viruses.

Delayed access to care and late presentations, due to concerns over SARS-CoV-2 infection, have been observed in an Italian case series and a BPSU snap-shot survey. There is significant mobidity and mortality reported as a consequence of the lockdowns and other measures.

Source: COVID-19 – research evidence summaries