Child Hospitalization Rates Similar With COVID, Flu
“The bad news is it wasn’t better than the flu either,” Grosso said. “We must keep in mind that the flu remains a serious health risk in childhood, especially for those under 2, those with underlying health conditions, or both.”
The new study included 315 children, with a median age of 8.4 years, who were diagnosed with COVID-19 between March 25 and May 15, 2020. Their medical records were compared with those of more than 1,400 children. , median age 3.9 years, who were diagnosed with seasonal influenza between October 1, 2019 and June 6, 2020.
Of COVID-19 patients, about 17% ended up requiring hospitalization, with almost 6% who were admitted to the ICU and 3% who were put on ventilators.
Of those with the flu, just over 21% were hospitalized, 7% were admitted to intensive care and around 2% were put on a ventilator, according to the study published online Sept. 8 in JAMA network open.
In both groups, fever was the most common symptom at diagnosis, followed by cough. Children hospitalized for COVID-19 were more likely than those hospitalized with the flu to have a fever (76% versus 55%), cough (48% versus 31%), diarrhea or vomiting (26% vs. 12%), headaches (11% vs. 3%), body aches (22% vs. 7%) and chest pain (11% vs. 3%).
Researchers also found that there was a sudden drop in hospital flu cases after local schools were closed in mid-March and stay-at-home orders were issued about two weeks later for reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.
The effect of school closings on the spread of the coronavirus is the next focus of their research, the study’s authors said.
“We want to assess the quantitative impact of school closures so that we can determine how much the cost of closing schools and staying at home outweighs the benefit of reducing the transmission of COVID-19 and burdens on the health care system, ”Song explained.
Grosso agreed that as flu season approaches, finding the answers to these questions becomes more urgent.
“What we don’t know is how current social distancing efforts will influence the number of children infected or how many will be simultaneously infected with SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] and another virus, ”Grosso said. We can only hope that these efforts – and the flu shot as soon as possible – will protect children from the worst of these viral infections. “
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