Children And Long COVID

Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Photo by NIAID-RML.

One piece in the News Notes of Sunday read: “As governors across the country begin to ease some coronavirus restrictions, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he thinks the efforts are premature: “It is really risky to say, ‘It’s over. We’re on our way out. Let’s pull back.’”

He’s not the only one saying this, and there are reasons.

The UK Guardian ran an article recently showcasing some data which was released in early February. The central feature was a study by the ONS (Office of National Statistics) on “long COVID”… people who continued to exhibit symptoms more than five weeks after infection, after the disease was no longer infectious and they had developed antibodies. Some of the symptoms might be indeterminate… “depression”, for example, may have as much to do with loss of loved ones or physical strength as much as brain chemistry… many of them are verified as resulting directly from the infection.

The most common symptoms were chronic fatigue, persistent cough, regular headaches, and complete or partial loss of taste or smell. Roughly 20% of all who had tested positive showed these symptoms more than five weeks after infection, and of those who had symptoms, at least 10% of them showed each of those. In other words, more than one out of every fifty people who’d contracted the disease was left with chronic fatigue, more than one out of fifty had lost or diminished ability to taste, etc… In many cases, people were suffering from multiple symptoms.

The results were particularly interesting for children under the age of twelve. More than 11% of those surveyed were exhibiting signs of long COVID. The respondents were randomly chosen not from those who had been hospitalized but simply from those who had been confirmed positive. Cross-referencing from other studies, the results demonstrated that there was a significantly greater likelihood of a child to show signs of long COVID symptoms than they were to have displayed symptoms during their initial infection.

This is the first national study on long COVID effects on children to be released, but it mirrors the results seen in Sweden, where the Astrid Lindgren’s Children’s Hospital released a mid-February report showing more than 200 children were under care for long COVID symptoms, and an early report from an Italian hospital suggesting they are seeing more than 50% of their pediatric patients retaining at least one symptom more than 120 days after infection and just over 42% of those respondents describing their impairment as “debilitating”.

The data on children remains spotty, undermined by legal restrictions on reporting the health data of those under 18 and the difficulties faced by the early testing methods (few parents, and fewer children, wanted to deal with the discomfort of getting a swab pushed deep into the nasal cavity).

Emerging data on long COVID suggests a need to continue to treat the disease very seriously independent of any variant strain issues. If the UK study is representative, there are likely to be hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people in nearly every large country who are experiencing long COVID and will require treatment even after “recovery”. The child data indicates that such issues are possible even for those who were asymptomatic in their initial infection, although the likelihood remains higher for those with a wide symptomatic display.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.