We know that symptomatic COVID19 infections are rare among kids (compared to adults). However, there has yet to be a study comparing rates of hospitalizations, ICU admission, and ventilator use among kids with COVID19 compared to kids with the seasonal flu.
Yesterday, a paper was published in JAMA (highly reputable journal) comparing the two. Scientists used healthcare records from one pediatric hospital system in Washington, DC. They compared 315 kids diagnosed with COVID19 between March 25-May 15, 2020 to 1,402 kids diagnosed with the flu between October 1, 2019-June 6, 2020.
What did they find?
- Kids with COVID19 had similar hospitalization rates (17% vs. 21%), similar ICU rates (6% vs. 7%), and similar ventilator use compared to kids with the flu (3% vs. 2%)
- Kids with COVID19 had more fevers, diarrhea/vomiting, headaches, body aches, and chest pain compared to kids with the flu
- Among COVID19 hospitalizations, more kids were older than 15 years or had underlying medical conditions compared to flu hospitalizations
- 0 kids were hospitalized with BOTH COVID19 and flu
- 0 COVID19 deaths and 2 flu deaths
THIS is an interesting paper. It will be very useful for our clinicians (and maybe parents) this Fall to know how signs and symptoms may differ between the two respiratory infections. This can possibly help guide clinicians for the prompt identification and treatment of each.
This is also a beacon of good news for our kids and COVID19! But, it’s important to note that we still don’t know a lot about COVID19 among kids, like long-term outcomes and transmission rates from kid-to-kid and kid-to-adult. So proceed with caution.
It’s also important to note that we have a flu vaccine (hint, hint). Our hope is that more kids (and adults) will get it this year so we can avoid trying to differentiate and diagnose the two diseases at the same time.