The growing science on children and COVID-19

Children are getting their body temperatures checked.
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, teachers check students before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas.
LM Otero | AP Photo file

For parents, unknowns can be difficult, especially when it comes to children’s health. The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, brings a lot of unknowns with it, especially because we’re still learning what it means for our health.

Here’s what we do know about kids and the virus: Overall, there are fewer reported cases of infected children than adults in the United States and around the world, but cases are on the rise. Data also show children are hospitalized at lower rates, suggesting that if they do get infected, their reaction typically is less severe or even asymptomatic. 

That’s not always the case, though; some children develop serious complications like MIS-C, a multisystem inflammatory syndrome, and researchers are trying to understand those complications. They’re also learning more about the long-term health impact of the virus.

Meanwhile, kids are returning to school in a variety of ways and we’re still learning about their role in spreading the virus. New research suggests that they might play a bigger — and sometimes silent — role than previously understood.

MPR News reporter and guest host Catharine Richert talked with two pediatric specialists Monday and took listener questions about children’s health and the COVID-19 pandemic.


To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.

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