MEDFORD, Ore. – This past week three children under the age of 9 have tested positive for COVID-19. According to Dr. Grant Niskanen, the Vice President for Medical Affairs at Sky Lakes Medical Center, children testing positive for the virus is rare, especially in our area.
Even though it is rare for children to show symptoms of COVID-19, this does not mean they are immune.
“In New York City, they estimate about 400,000 children became infected with COVID-19, that’s still quiet a small percentage when you look at the size of New York City, about 8.5 million people,” said Dr. Niskanen.
A recent study in China showed children typically only have a third of the infection adults do.
Doctors are still learning about the COVID-19 virus by one theory as to why children are less susceptible to COVID-19 has to do with their immune systems, when compared to older adults.
“It’s interesting with adults, most of the deaths that we see in the U.S. are occurring in people over the age of 65 and for every decade over that , as you get into your 80’s and 90’s, the death rate can be as high as 25%,” said Dr. Niskanen, “the older adults don’t have as strong of an immune system so they may not be able to fight this off and then with other health problems and depressed immune system, they’re more likely to succumb to death.”
While children rarely show symptoms, a new study published today suggests a large portion of the global population could be asymptomatic.
“A study came out of China today and the cruise lines as well, that 80% of people may be asymptomatic with the COVID-19 virus,” said Dr. Niskanen.
Due to the possibility that a majority of people could be sick and never know it, Dr. Niskanen says wearing masks are the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.
“A lot of people are under the mistaken assumption that masks help you from getting it, no, they help prevent you from giving it to someone else,” said Dr. Niskanen.
The COVID-19 virus is highly contagious and is can be transmitted through particles that leave your nose and mouth when you’re sneezing, coughing, or even just talking.
“By preventing those secretions with just a simple cloth mask; I think it’s going to be the main way to fight this in the future,” said Dr. Niskanen.