UC Davis infectious disease expert gives advice about kid-related COVID-19 risks

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DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) – Local infectious disease experts are stressing the importance of protecting children during the pandemic.

Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, shared his concerns with FOX40 after a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked specifically at COVID-19 cases in children.

“It still can be quite scary and quite severe,” he said. “So, we’ve heard a lot about how it’s milder in children compared to adults, and it is milder in children. And yet, children may still have severe disease.”

The CDC report examined data from 14 states, including California, between March 1 and July 25.

Within the survey there were 576 cases of COVID-19 in children 17 and younger, 208 of the children were hospitalized, 69 admitted to intensive care units and 12 required ventilators.

There was one death.

Of the 69 children who ended up in the ICU, the report showed about 40% of them having pre-existing conditions.

“The most common being obesity, as well as lung disease. And so, it’s believed that a lot of these children may not get routine medical care. They might have delayed medical care. They might not have access to care, and that allows these underlying conditions to predispose them to having more severe disease,” Blumberg explained.

The CDC report acknowledges infection and hospitalization rates among children are still significantly lower compared to adults.

“So, doing the social distancing outside of your household as much as possible is useful, and then wearing a face covering when you’re out in public. Those are the two most important things that people can do,” Blumberg said.

Blumberg said if a child has mild cold or flu-like symptoms, it’s OK to monitor them at home.

“But once they get it, they can certainly spread to other people. So, they can spread it within the family and spread it to older adults,” he told FOX40. “So, it’s important, even for young children, for parents to protect themselves, to not bring it into the household, and to protect their children so that nobody gets infected in their household. We’ve seen several tragedies with children being very sick, as well as other family members, being sick.”

If their symptoms become severe and they have trouble breathing, that’s when it’s time to visit a doctor and have them tested.

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