16 October 2020 Vol 370, Issue 6514
COVID-19 in children and young people
By Matthew D. Snape, Russell M. Viner
Science16 Oct 2020 : 286-288 Full Access
Children have a low risk of COVID-19 and are disproportionately harmed by precautions
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has brought distinct challenges to the care of children and adolescents globally. Unusually for a respiratory viral infection, children and adolescents are at much lower risk from symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than any other age group. The near-global closure of schools in response to the pandemic reflected the reasonable expectation from previous respiratory virus outbreaks that children would be a key component of the transmission chain. However, emerging evidence suggests that this is most likely not the case. A minority of children experience a postinfectious inflammatory syndrome, the pathology and long-term outcomes of which are poorly understood. However, relative to their risk of contracting disease, children and adolescents have been disproportionately affected by lockdown measures, and advocates of child health need to ensure that children’s rights to health and social care, mental health support, and education are protected throughout subsequent pandemic waves.