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  • Dr. Kenn O'Connor

Are children experiencing less severe COVID-19 symptoms than adults?

Up to this point, there has been anecdotal evidence that children have been experiencing a milder version of COVID-19 than adults. The first systematic reviews of the available documented cases were published last week and contained similar findings. Though much more data is needed, the preliminary findings confirm that children are presenting with less severe symptoms than adults.

Included below are links to the two studies along with a summary of the findings.



The systematic review analyzed 1065 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection from China and Singapore from December 1st, 2019, through March 3rd, 2020.

  • 444 cases were children under 10 years of age.

  • 553 cases were children between the ages of 10 and 19.

  • The most common symptoms were fever, dry cough, and fatigue.

  • Other common symptoms included nasal congestion and runny nose.

  • Less common symptoms were nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which were more likely to occur in newborns and infants.

  • Respiratory symptoms were mild in almost every case.

  • There was one severe case in which a 13-month-old child “developed vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and pneumonia, complicated by shock with metabolic acidosis and kidney failure that required intensive care and assisted ventilation.”

  • There was one death in the 10-19 year old demographic, but the study did not provide details.

  • The typical recovery time was 1-2 weeks.


Some preliminary information from Germany is available at the link below. This link also has data from China, which mostly references the same studies as the link above.

Summary of the German data:

  • The analysis only includes 33 cases.

  • The most common symptoms were fever and upper respiratory tract infection symptoms.

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms and bronchitis were seen at a lesser rate than fever and cough.

  • 12% of the children needed ventilation or oxygen supplementation.

  • 33% of the children had underlying health issues

  • 67% of the children have already recovered.

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