US Obesity, race play roles in severe COVID-19 illness among kids

05:25  08 august  2020
05:25  08 august  2020 Source:   today.com

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COVID - 19 can result in severe disease, including hospitalization, admission to an intensive care unit, and death, especially among older adults. underlying health conditions, are at higher risk for severe COVID - 19 –associated illness and death than are younger persons (3). Although the majority of

Obesity , race play roles in severe COVID - 19 illness among kids . TODAY. Joe Arpaio loses sheriff's race in second failed comeback bid. NBC News. Daisy Coleman's death was a tragedy more common among sexual assault survivors than you might think.

Black and Hispanic children are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports published Friday.

The CDC reports come just days after President Donald Trump told Fox News that children are "almost immune" to the coronavirus, an assertion proven to be untrue.

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Coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID - 19 ) is an illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although most children infected with SARS-CoV-2 have either asymptomatic infection or mild illness , severe or critical illness has been reported.

The severity of COVID - 19 symptoms can range from very mild to severe . Some people may have only a few symptoms, and some people may have no symptoms at all. Some people may experience worsened symptoms, such as worsened shortness of breath and pneumonia, about a week after

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As of July 31, more than 338,000 children in the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. That represents about 8 percent of the nearly 5 million cases reported so far in the U.S.

And pediatric cases appear to be rising. One of the CDC reports released Friday found that between March 21 and July 25, "weekly hospitalization rates steadily increased among children." Overall, Black and Hispanic children were most likely to require hospitalization.

About a third of those children were sick enough to be admitted into a hospital's intensive care unit. That's equal to the proportion of adults with COVID-19 who have required critical care, even though children in general are less likely to be as severely impacted by the virus as adults.

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Forty-two percent of the 208 children in the CDC analysis had at least one underlying condition, usually obesity.

"Childhood obesity affects almost 1 in 5 U.S. children," the CDC authors wrote, "and is more prevalent in Black and Hispanic children."

It's unclear how obesity might affect the severity of COVID-19 outcomes, but the link has also been noted among adults with the virus.

"There's something about obesity that causes an underlying inflammatory state that we don't understand that much about," said Dr. Josh Denson, a pulmonary medicine and critical care physician at the Tulane Medical Center in New Orleans. Denson treats severely ill adult COVID-19 patients, and has recently published research on the link between the coronavirus and obesity in the African American population.

Also Friday, the National Institutes of Health announced it's launching a project called PreVAIL kIds that aims to identify which children might be most at risk for COVID-19 complications.

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While severe cases of the coronavirus have largely spared children, evidence is growing that kids may not be as immune to COVID - 19 complications as previously "All the kids have some sort of severe inflammation," said Dr. Michael Bell, head of critical care medicine at Children's National Hospital.

COVID - 19 is the illness caused by a novel coronavirus first detected in China in late 2019. By March 2020, with the spread of coronavirus disease to over 100 other locations, including the U.S., WHO officially declared the outbreak a pandemic.

The study will analyze, in part, biomarkers found in blood samples taken from children with COVID-19, so scientists can determine how the virus impacts young people, as well as which ones might be most at risk.

"This is a new virus, and it's really critical to understand what it does to children long term," said Dr. Bill Kapogiannis, a senior medical officer with the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The main goal of the project is to learn more about one of the most severe COVID-19 complications among kids: multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: William Lantry. (Tacia Brentley) © Tacia Brentley William Lantry. (Tacia Brentley)

William Lantry, 10, of Pittsburgh, who was diagnosed with MIS-C in June had no idea he'd even been infected with the coronavirus.

His mother, Tacia Brentley, noticed he seemed a "little off," and had a sore neck. When his temperature soared past 104 degrees Fahrenheit, she took him to the emergency room.

"It didn't really feel like I had been sick," William said, but added that the day his mother took him to the hospital, his neck pain stretched from his head down his shoulder, and he was vomiting.

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The number of Covid - 19 cases among children remains small and while some children and infants have been sick with Covid - 19 "Here in Chicago, some of the kids have some of the underlying conditions that would predispose you to getting more severe Covid disease, such as obesity and

COVID - 19 can look different in different people. For many people, being sick with COVID - 19 would be a little bit like having the flu. People can get a fever, cough Keep children healthy. Teach and reinforce everyday preventive actions. Parents and caretakers play an important role in teaching children to

Physicians suspected the child had meningitis and put him on oxygen. Later tests revealed he'd had the coronavirus.

William has since recovered but remains on steroids to help his breathing.

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The second report published Friday by the CDC looked specifically at MIS-C.

Out of 570 such cases, 364 — nearly 64 percent — needed to be put in intensive care. Ten young patients died, the CDC reported.

Symptoms of MIS-C included fever, rash, eye infections, gastrointestinal problems and heart damage, and tended to show up nearly a month after being exposed to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Dr. Kevin Friedman, a pediatric cardiologist at Boston Children's Hospital, said he and his colleagues have treated nearly 40 such cases.

Symptoms of MIS-C are "occurring somewhere between three and six weeks after acute COVID exposure or infection," he told NBC News. "In some cases, children don't even know they had COVID and had no acute symptoms."

There is no specific treatment for MIS-C or less severe cases of COVID-19 in children. Friedman said doctors are treating patients with anti-inflammatories and supportive care to boost their heart and lung function.

As with severe COVID-19 cases, racial and ethnic disparities are common for MIS-C, as well. About 60 percent of children with MIS-C in Massachusetts, Friedman estimated, have been Black or Hispanic.

Indeed, the CDC report found that overall across the country, MIS-C tended to be more prevalent —73.6 percent — in racial minorities.

Brentley wants parents to remain alert for unusual symptoms in children. "The very second you see something that isn't normal, just go. Go straight to the hospital."

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