How common is severe or critical pediatric coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China?

Updated: Oct 10, 2021
  • Author: Ayesha Mirza, MD; Chief Editor: David J Cennimo, MD, FAAP, FACP, FIDSA, AAHIVS  more...
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Although most children infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have either asymptomatic infection or mild illness, severe illness has been reported in 2.5% of pediatric cases in China, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). [46]  In a study of more than 2000 children in China, Dong et al found that approximately 4% of children with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) were asymptomatic, 51% had mild illness, and 39% had moderate illness. About 6% of pediatric patients had severe or critical illness, and one patient (a 14-year-old boy) died. [34]

The Chinese investigators also found that severe or critical illness was more common in infants and toddlers than in older children. More than 10% of infants had severe or critical illness compared with 7% of children aged 1-5 years, 4% of those aged 6-10 years, 4% of those aged 11-15 years, and 3% of those aged 16 years or older. [34]

The data from China showed that most children with COVID-19 recovered within 1-2 weeks after the onset of symptoms. [46]

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