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A true saving grace of the pandemic is that Covid-19 poses far less risk to children than to adults, particularly older adults. But in rare cases, it has made children and young adults severely sick or even been fatal.

In a new report that analyzed fatal Covid-19 cases in Americans under age 20, researchers found that some of the same patterns of deaths in older populations carried over to younger populations: There was a disproportionate burden among children and young adults with underlying health conditions and those who were Latinx, Black, or American Indian or Alaska Native.

The report also found that 18- to 20-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the 121 deaths in the group during the time period studied — mid-February to the end of July — adding to the evidence that younger children generally are less likely to get seriously ill from Covid-19. Still, 10% of fatal cases occurred in children under 1 year old.


The report, from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, was published Tuesday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Overall, of the 121 people under 21 who died from Covid-19 complications, 45% were Latinx, 29% were Black, 14% were white, and 4% were American Indian or Alaska Native. Seventy-five percent of the fatal cases were among children and young adults with existing medical problems, most commonly chronic lung diseases like asthma, obesity, neurologic or developmental conditions, or heart conditions.


The tally of deaths include 15 that stemmed from what’s been named multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. It’s a rare but serious condition that typically develops two to four weeks after a case of Covid-19 and involves severe inflammation affecting a range of organs. So far, doctors think it’s most likely to occur in children older than 5. Most kids recover, but a few cases have been fatal.

In accounting for the differences in death rates by race and ethnicity, the researchers pointed to the challenges minority groups often face getting care. The groups are also “disproportionately represented among essential workers unable to work from their homes, resulting in higher risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 with potential secondary transmission among household members, including infants, children, adolescents, and young adults,” the researchers wrote. “In addition, disparities in social determinants of health, such as crowded living conditions, food and housing insecurity, wealth and educational gaps, and racial discrimination, likely contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 and MIS-C incidence and outcomes.”

Overall, the 121 deaths of people under 21 accounted for just .08% of all Covid-19 deaths in the country through July, the researchers reported. But they warned that the incidence of cases among children could change as day cares and schools reopen and children started having contact with more people.

  • Focusing on the number of death or the proportion of death versus cases is one way to look at the problem. As a small epidemiologist doctor involved in the management of the covid in my own part of the world (Pacific are) i suspect we are neglecting the number of long term “chronic cases) that result from a covid infection. MISC is the more commonly referred to as it infect young children but the mounting evidence of cardiopathy, inflammatory disease, insulin-dependent diabete, amputations and other general long term recovery problems is going to have long term consequences on many younger people, a heavyweight on the delivery of health care and the cost for the health care system without mentioning the resulting consequences for those in those affected populations that do not have access to health care ( with the lower economical layers of the society more affected that will be many particularly in the US).
    So yes younger people do not die as much in proportion (remember nonetheless that 0.01% of a millions infected is still a 100. to multiply by the number of infected children) do we have to forget the consequences on others that will pay the cost of a long term chronic disease as a results?

    Looking at the overall picture is not a bad idea. Covid is a pandemie that will get control when we start thinking as We instead of ME or I. That looks like an exercise the USA society has a hard time doing.

    • Rubbish. I believe people like you are selfish, but disguise it behind faux-altruism. This is just more goalpost moving. It’s already demonstrated the vast majority of folks recover just fine from C-19. You and the press highlighting statistical outliers and use it as an excuse to continue this overreaction is just hysteria. There are long term complications for some people due to influenza also.

      “…we start thinking as We instead of ME or I”

      I agree with that statement. We have decades of research showing deep economic recessions cost lives and are bad for a society. We have decades of research showing education and socialization for children is important. We have decades of research showing preemptive medical care saves lives. All of which have been pushed to the side for Covid.

      People like YOU need to start thinking about others, not just Covid deaths.

  • Gabriele Brewer and Carl Strang , backs up what Reniam is saying,, . Nature publishs 49 science journals, they are out of england, they usually have the original studies. They usually have unbias articles. Some Stat wtiters have a bias against Trump. You have to read multiple sources to get accurate info. It is easy to tell all the people who just watch cnn and msn then post comments, . They want to blame Trump for everything when Dr. FAUCI IS ON TAPE in every interview saying Trump has followed all his recommendations, Fauci has been in charge of the covid responce. Nature briefing is a great original source of any science study.

  • Another fearmongering article from Team Apocalypse.

    IFRs from the CDC’s Scenario 5: Current Best Estimate in “COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios”:
    * 0-19 years: 0.000018 – Statistically zero chance of death
    * 20-49 years: 0.00012 – Statistically zero chance of death
    * 50-69 years: 0.003 – More likely to die from seasonal flu
    * 70+ years: 0.0324 – More likely to die from Covid. Still not the #1 cause of death even here.

    As low as these are, the reality is they’ll end up lower. Most deaths, by far, are 80+ with underlying conditions and it’s unclear whether they died of, or with, C-19. The Covid IPC code added on March 24th allowed Covid to be listed in part 1 of the death certificate, which is a change from how viral death was listed previously; like influenza. It’s exaggerated the numbers.

    “the incidence of cases among children could change as day cares and schools reopen and children started having contact with more people.”

    OK. Cases aren’t deaths. Children being exposed to Covid is already known to be less of an issue than influenza. Let’s have a little more honesty in reporting and a lot less sensationalism.

    • Could you provide more specific references for the CDC data you referred to in your response. This is a very sensitive issue, and the representation of these data needs as much clarity as possible. Understanding risk is part of life and citizenship.

    • Re: Even one Death is to much

      We dont think that about any other thing – we dont ban cars, curtain strings, aeroplanes, skateboards because they kill every now and again, the list is endless.

      We dont all pay more taxes to send the money to Africa to save lives, where a few hundred dollars would save many lives.

      The would makes value judgement on the worth of lives all of the time, its just not explicitly laid out.

    • Excellent response. Unfortunately too many emotional people are easily manipulated by these unfortunate, but extremely rare, mortalities. More people die in Chicago due to gun violence in a few weekends than all the examples listed in this hit piece.

    • You neglect to factor in the risk of longer / long term complications, including damage to the heart IN PEOPLE WHO HAD MILD CASES AND WERE NEVER HOSPITALIZED. See prior articles on this very web site. The results of the studies done thus far are very concerning, with upwards of 70% of those tested having had some damage to their heart muscles. Granted, the studies done thus far have been small but the numbers still raise concerns that you overlook in your “fearmongering” assessment.

    • “You are very cynical. Hope nobody close to you dies of Covid19 or even the Flu. Even one Death is to much.Could be your Mother or Grandmother.”

      At 68 years old, my grandmother and mother have already departed. My grandmother died in 1985 at 87. She was a lifelong smoker and by the end had been bedridden for many months and very frail. She fell ill with influenza, or maybe a bad cold and died. We wer sad at her passing, but we knew it was her time and felt the death was natural. Her death certificate reads “Respiratory Failure”, not “Influenza” or “Bad Cold” because that would be absurd. Yet, that’s what we’re doing today.

      “Even one Death is to much.”
      That is absurd. If we lowered the maximum speed limit to 25MPH, that would save 10’s of thousands of lives a year. We’re not going to do that. If you don’t understand policy is made on life/death and acceptable risk then you’re not a serious person. You’re just not.

    • “Could you provide more specific references for the CDC data you referred to in your response. This is a very sensitive issue, and the representation of these data needs as much clarity as possible. Understanding risk is part of life and citizenship.”

      Search for “COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios” look for Table 1.

      It should be noted the first IFR I’m aware of was WHOs 3.4%, then it was downgraded to 2.0. These were based upon models that turned out to be extremely faulty and both would have been true category 5 pandemics and that’s what led to the policy decisions at the time. It was clear by May C-19 wasn’t that and later was bumped down to 0.26. Now it’s even lower. Every best case scenario for C-19 has turned out to be too pessimistic.

      If you care to see what our “Goals of Community Measure” for the mitigation strategies scientists suggested by category of pandemic. It’s getting hard for anyone to argue this isn’t Henny Pennyism.

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