Coronavirus and Its Effects on Children

Since the start of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic that originated in China in late December, there have been many questions about the impact of this illness on young children, and we hoped a study would arrive to help us answer those questions. Last week we received such a manuscript from Dong et al (10.1542/peds.2020-0702) provided us with an epidemiologic look at COVID-19 across China during the past few months. Of the 2,143 patients described, 731 were laboratory-confirmed. The article contains a lot of useful information regarding the clinical severity by age. This article suggests that children younger than 1 year are more likely to have concerning illness. To further help us understand the significance of the epidemiology of COVID-19 in children, we asked two editorial board members with expertise in pediatric infectious diseases, Drs. Andrea Cruz and Steve Zeichner to provide us with an accompanying commentary (10.1542/peds.2020-0834). Drs. Cruz and Zeichner point out some key takeaways from this study—including (1) the subpopulations that are at increased risk for more serious illness; (2) the difficulties involved in determining the attributable risk in childen for severe disease; and (3) the role children may be playing in transmitting COVID-19 and how they may be doing this from a fecal-oral as well as respiratory spread. Given the importance of this article and commentary, we are making both available to you prepublication on our website within days of completing its peer review and prior to official publication in an upcoming issue of Pediatrics.

We hope that as other authors from around the world collaborate and learn about COVID-19, we will continue to pre-publish papers that are time-sensitive. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of all children through the articles we publish, and we are pleased we can make studies like this available expeditiously. We hope you find it as useful as we did in gaining a better understanding of how COVID-19 manifests itself in infants and children.

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