A retrospective analysis of 2,143 paediatric patients with a confirmed (34.1%) or suspected (65.9%) COVID-19 diagnosis, published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, sheds light on the epidemiological and clinical pattern of COVID-19 in children.
Disease severity was defined on clinical features, laboratory testing, chest radiographs, including asymptomatic infection, mild, moderate, severe and critical cases.
The severity of cases was diagnosed as asymptomatic (N=94, 4.4%), mild (N=1091, 50.9%) or moderate (N=831, 38.8%), accounting for 94.1 per cent of all cases. No statistical differences were seen between males and females.
Young children, particularly infants, were vulnerable to infection. The proportion of severe and critical cases was 10.6, 7.3, 4.2, 4.1 and 3.0 per cent for the age groups <1, 1-5, 6-10, 11-15 and ≥16 years, respectively. One 14-year old boy died. There were fewer severe and critical paediatric cases (5.9%) than adult patients (18.5%).
A trend of the rapid increase of disease onset in the early stage of the epidemic, and then a gradual and steady decrease was observed.
These results give strong evidence for human-to-human transmission as children were unlikely to visit the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market where the early adult patients were reported to obtain COVID-19.