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Why Most Coronavirus Patients Are Adults, Not Children

Mark Andrew

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With the new coronavirus (now officially called the COVID-19 by the World Health Organization) infecting thousands and killing hundreds, concerned parents can at least be comforted about one thing: it looks like children are less likely to get seriously ill from the dreaded disease, statistics say.

As some news observers have noted, most, if not all, the reported deaths are senior adults. In addition, a JAMA report further tells us that the age of patients typically range between 49 and 56 years old. Cases in children, according to existing data, have, so far, been very “rare.”

After conducting an intensive study of the coronavirus and developing a test for it, University of Hong Kong virology chief Dr. Malik Peiris explained it this way:

“My strong, educated guess is that younger people are getting infected, but they get the relatively milder disease.”

Case in point, we’ve had a report about a 10-year-old child from Shenzhen who went with his family on a Wuhan trip, the origin of the viral disease. Upon their return, his family members (ages 36 to 66) were infected and immediately experienced diarrhea, fever, pneumonia, and sore throat. While the child also had signs of pneumonia, he displayed no outward symptoms at all.

Dr. Raina MacIntyre, resident epidemiologist of the University of New South Wales, remarked that in most cases, young ones can either be “asymptomatically infected or have very mild infection.”

Dr MacIntyre likewise pointed out that the body “declines and declines exponentially” when people reach the age of 50, “which is why for most infections we see the highest incidence in the elderly.”

Or as University of Toronto’s infectious disease specialist Isaac Bogoch summed it up, those who are most prone to get infected are “usually the very old, sometimes the very young and certainly people with other medical conditions who typically have more severe manifestations.”

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