Early data shows Canadian children experience milder COVID-19 symptoms: study
In this Tuesday, July 14, 2020 file photo, Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, teachers check students before a summer STEM camp at Wylie High School in Wylie, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
TORONTO -- Early research from the Canadian Paediatric Society indicates that children in Canada experience much milder symptoms of COVID-19.
Data from Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program(CPSP) shows that 111 cases of COVID-19 among children reported to the program required hospitalization as of Aug. 26. Overall, just 1.3 per cent of children with COVID-19 were hospitalized, compared to 13.5 per cent of patients of all ages.
Furthermore, the researchers note that about half of the children hospitalized with COVID-19 were admitted for another reason. For example, a COVID-19 infection discovered during a routine screening for a previously scheduled appointment.
There has not been a single death among children reported to the CPSP.
"While we are still learning about this new disease, we hope that these preliminary results will give some confidence to families as children return to in-person schooling," Dr. Fatima Kakkar, a principal investigator on the study and a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal, said in a news release.
There are several other studies that indicate children may have an easier time fighting off COVID-19 than adults. A study out of the United States from earlier this week indicates children are at nearly equal risk of being hospitalized by the flu when compared to COVID-19.
In their research, the CPSP notes that the data was collected at a time when children were out of school and thus not in close contact with as many people compared to normal, meaning child surveillance is of continued importance.
"We will continue to monitor cases and trends through the fall, and we will share these results with clinicians and public health decision makers,” said Dr. Shaun Morris, a paediatric infectious diseases specialist and study principal investigator from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
In May, cases of COVID-19 in children were expanded to include kids who had contracted Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a condition closely associated with COVID-19. MIS-C causes several parts of the body to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs and eyes.
This research did not include children diagnosed with MIS-C, although the CPSP is analyzing the additional data and hopes to provide the results soon.