Children from ethnic and racial minorities, those with underlying health conditions and those aged 18 to 20 are more likely to die, a CDC-led research group wrote in a study published Tuesday in the agency’s weekly report on morbidity and mortality.
The researchers asked 50 states, New York City, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the US Virgin Islands to submit information on coronavirus deaths in people under the age of 21
Among the approx. 6.5 million Covid-19 cases in the country, researchers found a total of 391,814 cases of Covid-19 and MIS-C in those under 21. While people under 21 make up 26% of the U.S. population, they make up only 8% of all reported cases .
Hispanics, blacks, and Indians in Indiana / Alaska were disproportionately affected. A total of 44% of the 121 who died were Hispanic children, 29% were black children, 4% were Indians from Indiana / Alaska and 4% were Asian or Pacific residents. While these groups represent 41% of the U.S. population under the age of 21, they accounted for approx. 75% of deaths in this age range. Fourteen percent of the deaths were white children.
“Infants, children, adolescents and young adults, especially those from higher risk racial and ethnic minority groups, those with underlying medical conditions and their carers, need clear, consistent and developmental, linguistically and culturally appropriate COVID-19 prevention messages,” wrote the researchers.
While 25% of deaths were in previously healthy children, 75% had at least one underlying health condition and 45% had two or more. The most commonly reported medical conditions were chronic lung disease, including asthma; obesity neurological and developmental conditions and cardiovascular conditions.
The distribution between the different age groups varied considerably, as they did better than young people and young adults in the younger age groups. Approx. 10% of deaths were in infants under 1 year of age, a further 9% were in children between 1 and 4, with a further 11% in the range of 5-9 and 10% in the range of 10-13. But nearly 20% of deaths were seen in teens between the ages of 14 and 17, and more than 40% were in 18- to 20-year-olds.
This is consistent with previous CDC statistics showing that 0 to 4 year olds are four times less likely to be hospitalized and nine times less likely to die than 18 to 29 year olds and 5 to 17 year olds are nine times less likely to be hospitalized and 16 times less likely to die than 18 to 29-year-olds.
Boys performed worse than girls: men accounted for 63% of deaths compared to 37% for women.
Although children are reassuringly less likely to become seriously ill and die, they can still become infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others, according to many studies.
They found at least two children who had no symptoms not only caught the virus but passed it on to other people, including a mother who was hospitalized. An eight-month-old baby infected both parents.
“The infected children exposed at these three facilities had mild to no symptoms. Two out of three asymptomatic children probably transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to their parents and possibly to their teachers,” the researchers from the Salt Lake County Health Department wrote in their report. .
The CDC researchers in the current study said it is important to keep an eye on children infected with Covid-19. “Although infants, children, and adolescents are more likely to have milder COVID-19 disease than adults, complications, including MIS-C and respiratory failure, occur in these populations. Individuals infected with or exposed to SARS-CoV-2 should closely monitored so that clinical deterioration can be detected early, ”they wrote.
Jacqueline Howard, Sandee Lamotte and Lauren Mascaren contributed to this report.