Infants TEN TIMES more likely to test positive for COVID in communities with high levels of spread

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Infants were TEN TIMES more likely to test positive for COVID-19 in communities with high levels of virus spread, study finds

  • Researchers looked at babies admitted to NYU Langone Health hospital from March 2020 to December 2020
  • They found that infants were 10 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19 if they lived in areas with high rates of transmission
  • Only 6% of the hospitalized infants were infected with other commonly occurring viruses, whether or not they had COVID-19

The likelihood of a baby contracting COVID-19 may depend how much the virus is spreading in the community, a new study suggests.  

Researchers found that infants were more than 10 times more likely to test positive for coronavirus if they lived in areas with high rates of transmission.

Additionally, only six percent of all babies hospitalized had other commonly occurring respiratory infections – showing that mitigation measures such as masks and social distancing prevented the spread of other viruses. 

However, few babies needed intensive care, and the team, from New York University Langone Health, says the findings suggest that babies tend to fare very well against the disease.

Of those newborns, just three, about 10 percent, were diagnosed with COVID-19. Pictured: A staff member attends to a baby with novel coronavirus at Wuhan Children's Hospital, March 6

Of those newborns, just three, about 10 percent, were diagnosed with COVID-19. Pictured: A staff member attends to a baby with novel coronavirus at Wuhan Children’s Hospital, March 6

While children can contract COVID-19, they are less less likely to become seriously ill from the disease compared to adults. 

Additionally, fewer than 0.1 percent of deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. have occurred in children under age 17.

For the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the team looked at infants less than 90 days of age admitted to NYU Langone Health hospital from March 2020 to December 2020.  

Among the 148 infants included in the study, 22 of them – or 15 percent – tested positive for COVID-19.

Additionally, just two of the babies with the virus needed to be admitted to intensive care unit (ICUs), but luckily both were dismissed home

What was most telling was that where an infant lived was one of the biggest indictors of whether or not they would test positive.

Nearly one-third, 31 percent of babies, who contracted COVID-19 lived in communities with high infection rates.

By comparison, only three percent lived in areas with low community spread.  

‘Thirty-one percent was a pretty impressive number but in line with what had been published in other case series,’ co-principal investigator Dr Vanessa Raabe, an assistant professor in NYU Langone’s Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics, told DailyMail.com.

Researchers also found that six percent of the hospitalized infants were infected with other commonly occurring viruses, whether or not they had COVID-19. 

‘This is an indicator that the measures we were taking with social distancing and masks prevented a lol of the other respiratory illnesses we see,’ Raabe said.  

For future studies, Raabe would like to look at COVID-19 rates among infants going to the emergency room and going to their regular doctor as well as comparing infection rates in communities with different vaccine rates.

‘I think including those in future research will be key to understanding the full spectrum of COVID-19 in young infants,’ she said.

She adds that she hopes the findings leads to pediatrician keeping COVID-19 on their radar and offer a silver lining to parents whose children fall ill. 

‘A lot of these kids do very well. They leave hospitals after a short period of time, they do very well with inhaler and don’t usually go to the ICU,’ Raabe said.

‘So if you hear this diagnoses, don’t panic. Kids generally do very well even if diagnosed with COVID-19.’

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