COVID-19 in children and the young

Earlier in the current pandemic it was widely held that children and young adults were less likely to be affected by SARS-CoV-2. While that remains largely true the thinking has seen major shifts as more is learned about the virus, its interactions and effects on victims. The recent observations of severe multisystem hyperinflammatory syndrome similar to Kawasaki syndrome ( a not too common system-wide inflammatory vasculitis ) in some children leading to deaths in at least three in New York lay bare the erroneous assumptions. Young people and children occupy a strategic place as vehicles for SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission in the current pandemic. They too can succumb to this deadly infection as it makes its rounds in the pandemic . Unfortunately, predictions as to who will suffer a mild as opposed to severe course of this viral illness remains an illusion.


I have always argued that the initial messaging that unduely gave an impression that young people and children had nothing to fear from this virus was misplaced, when it ignored the fact that they can pick up the virus and spread it in the community and also bring it home to vulnerable parents and grandparents. Predictably, we saw young people flood Florida beaches for spring break and partying because it was felt preventive measures were for only the older "vulnerable" population. Frankly we may never know to what extent this erroneous early messaging increased the transmission and spread of the deadly agent. The wrong messaging was not helpful and may have contributed to more lives lost.