kids covid study

May 18, 2021

"Non-Specific Symptoms"

Researchers looked at 12,000+ children with COVID-19 in the United States to find out which symptoms typically surface.
Here are their results:

The Study:

  • Researchers looked at the recorded symptoms for 12,306 children (those under the age of 18) in the U.S. with positive COVID-19 results from April – October 2020.
  • Of the sample group, approximately 43% of these children came from the South, 22.9% from the West, 22% from the Midwest, and 7% from the Northeast.
  • Bottom Line: Only 1 out of 4 children exhibit “at least one” typical COVID-19 symptom such as a cough, fever, or shortness of breath.

What Are The Signs?

“Nearly three-fourths (74.9%) of the children did not have any of the typical COVID-19 symptoms.”

Fewer than 2 in 10 kids, or 18.8%, had “non-specific symptoms” (fever, joint or muscle pain, malaise – just general discomfort – or loss of taste or smell).

16.5% had respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath).

13.9% had tummy troubles (nausea, vomiting).

Something To Consider:

  • More severe cases of COVID-19 surfaced in Black and Hispanic children while no significant differences arose related to gender.
  • Children with no comorbidities had a 3.5% chance of hospitalization; “0.4% required critical care, and 0.3% required mechanical ventilation.”
  • Researchers say the lack of typical symptoms may reflect asymptomatic or mild symptoms in children who tested positive during screenings for travel, school, etc.

“The lower disease prevalence and severity in children may be due to both having lower susceptibility to COVID-19 infection and a lower likelihood of showing symptoms.” Researchers say a limitation to their work includes incomplete records and school openings/closings, but one takeaway? Some of what we now see (such as temperature checks) may not be effective for flagging cases in children.

A retrospective cohort study of 12,306 pediatric COVID-19 patients in the United States

Most kids with coronavirus do not develop fever, study finds

by Jenna Lee,