National Post (National Edition)
KIDS AND COVID - 1 9
Can kids get COVID-19? Yes. Are they more vulnerable to COVID-19? No.
According to the Nature Journal, recent evidence shows that kids' immune systems seem better equipped to manage the COVID-19 virus. Even if their body can't completely get rid of the virus, they will only experience mild symptoms or be asymptomatic.
“There's been some speculation that ACE2 levels are lower in children and this is the receptor that the virus uses to enter cells. That's something that would explain lower infection rate,” Miller said.
Kids' immune systems don't fully develop until they reach puberty, which allows them to tolerate infections a lot better than adults.
Miller points to fevers as one good example of the different reactions in children's and adult's bodies. “The level of fever that's considered, essentially, a safe fever in children is much much higher than it is in adults.”
The biggest question for scientists is why, if children do get the virus, they have less severe symptoms?
“It certainly has to do with differences in having an immature immune system but exactly what those differences are, isn't clear yet,” Miller said.
One clue could be in their frequent interaction with the seasonal cold. Kids can be a central transmitter of colds, so some scientists think they may have antibodies for the current virus.
Kids get very frequent infections of all kinds, through daycare and elementary school, Miller said. “The immune response that they elicit to seasonal coronaviruses might provide some cross-protection.”
Miller, like other scientists, said there is still much to understand about children and COVID-19.