How is coronavirus affecting children? A Children's National doctor weighs in

While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread worldwide, its effect on children may be cause for relative-optimism, according to an infectious disease expert.

“They are definitely getting infected, but we are not seeing a large number of children ending up in the hospital or particularly in the critical care units,” explained Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of infectious disease at Children’s National Hospital.

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That’s despite recent reports that have some parents concerned. For instance, a California teenager’s death was linked to the coronavirus on Tuesday. On Monday, a one-year-old D.C. girl tested positive. And Wednesday, an official said that 217 or Maryland’s coronavirus cases were in people between 20 and 50 years old – that’s about 50 percent.

But DeBiasi said young people do not appear to be more at risk than initially thought. She said that while more children are testing positive for coronavirus, that’s largely because more children are being tested. DeBiasi said parents should still be concerned, and kids still need to practice social distancing just like everyone else, but there is still cause for hope when it comes to kids and coronavirus.

“It’s one reassuring thing that at least the children seem to be spared from the worst complications of this because if it was all age groups, it would be that much worse. We would have both pediatric and adult patients in these terrible situations,” DeBiasi said, adding that if a child has an underlying condition, they may be more likely to have a complication.