New York – A detailed review of deaths from COVID-19 among children and young adults in the United States released Tuesday shows that they have similar patterns to those of older patients.
The report examined 121 deaths of people under the age of 21, recorded through the end of July. Like adults, many had one or more medical problems, such as asthma, obesity, heart or developmental conditions.
The deaths were also more common among those in certain racial or ethnic groups, according to the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC found that 54 were Hispanic, 35 were black and 17 were white, although the country’s white population is much larger.
“It is really eye-catching. It’s similar to what we see among adults ”and could reflect many things, including that many essential workers who continue to work are black and Hispanic parents, said Dr. Andrew Pavia, an infectious disease pediatrician at the University of Utah. Pavia was not part of the study.
However, the deaths of minors are few. They represent less than 0.08% of the total COVID-19 deaths reported to the CDC by then, although college-age children and adults account for 26% of the nation’s population.
Fifteen of the deaths were linked to a rare condition called systemic inflammatory syndrome, which can cause inflammation and heart problems.
The report also found that almost two-thirds of the deaths were male and that the death rate increased with age. There were 71 deaths among the patients younger than 17, including a dozen infants. The remaining 50 were from patients between 18 and 20 years old.
Scientists are still trying to understand why more severe symptoms become more common with age. One existing theory is that young children have fewer sites on the surfaces of their airways where the virus can attach itself, Pavia said. Another is that children may be less prone to an overreaction of the immune system to the virus, he added.
So far this year, the CDC record for children is lower than child deaths from influenza reported during a typical season, which has been 130 in recent years. But comparing the two is difficult for several reasons, including that most schools were not open during the spring due to the pandemic.