Coronavirus and children
If the coronavirus was transmitted mainly among children, it would be catastrophic. Currently, the low rate of children infected with the Covid-19 virus is a good thing. Because children are not self-aware such as washing hands, covering their mouth, or touching others or actions that can spread the virus.
Looking back, the new coronavirus epidemic is said to have many similarities with the SARS and MERS epidemics. All three viruses including SARS, MERS, and now Covid-19 are coronaviruses (Latin means "crown") of the subfamily Coronavirinae. The name comes from the somewhat crown-like shape of the protein on the virus's outer coat.
MERS outbreaks in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and in South Korea in 2015 killed more than 800 people. However, most infected children do not have severe symptoms. Children are mainly infected by contact with family members.
The SARS epidemic broke out in 2003 with more than 800 deaths, but no children died, most of the people who died from the epidemic were on average over 45 years old and the majority were men. According to studies and data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in more than 8000 cases of SARS, only 135 cases were in children, accounting for 1.6%.
According to scientists, for children under 12 years old, patients are less likely to have to go to the hospital or use oxygen for treatment. The cases are mild, have a short duration of illness, and have symptoms such as cough and runny nose like a common viral upper respiratory infection. Children over 12 years of age have symptoms similar to adults, but no deaths have been recorded.
Compared to seasonal flu, another respiratory disease, the scientists also noted that many children in the US are infected with the flu virus each year, but the number of deaths from flu in children is much lower than that of children with adults. During the 2018-2019 flu season, about 7.6 million children aged 5 to 17 were infected with influenza, of which 211 died, the mortality rate was at 0.002%. In contrast, an estimated 11.9 million adults between the ages of 18 and 49 were infected with influenza, but there were 2,450 deaths, an adult mortality rate of 0.02%.
Why is Coronavirus less contagious in children?
Acute pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus is almost a completely new picture for the world epidemiology, so there is no comprehensive study on the impact of the Covid-19 virus on children. However, according to some studies, scientists think that there are two hypotheses that help answer the question. First, the low number of infections among children maybe because children are less likely to be exposed in the first place. Or the second reason may be because the child's body has a particular way of responding to the virus. That's called the innate immune system.
The innate immune system is the first line of defense against foreign pathogens entering the body. When an "invader" is detected, the cells in the system immediately react to fight back. In children, the innate immune system is strong, and exposure to Covid-19 can respond to the infection more easily and help the child experience only milder symptoms.
In addition, vaccination has been practiced and implemented well for many years, children are immune through the complete immunization process and parents are conscious of proactively protecting children.
Moreover, in adults, an infection may occur more easily, especially for those with a history of chronic underlying diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, etc., which weakens the ability to prevent disease. prevent infection.
The body's innate immunity, which is important to fight off viruses, also declines with age and especially after middle age. Especially for people over the age of 50, which is why for most infections, viral infections, the rate of complications is highest in the elderly.
If the coronavirus was transmitted mainly among children, it would be catastrophic. Currently, the low rate of children infected with the Covid-19 virus is a good thing. Because children are not self-aware such as washing hands, covering their mouth, or touching others or actions that can spread the virus. Therefore, we should not be subjective and comfortable letting children go out without protective and preventive measures. Prevention is necessary, everyone must be prevented and take the same precautions.
Although there are no exact conclusions, it is actually recognized that antibodies generated from the measles vaccine can help children have cross-immunity with Coronavirus, limiting the spread of disease to children.