Since the start of the pandemic, children make up approximately 14% of COVID-19 cases (American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 2021). Most children with COVID-19 have mild or no symptoms (CDC, 2021). However, children with underlying conditions such as asthma or other chronic lung diseases, diabetes, sickle cell, heart disease since birth, a suppressed immune system, obesity, genetics, neurologic, or metabolic conditions are more likely to experience a severe illness from COVID-19 infection (CDC, 2021). The symptoms of COVID-19 in children are similar to those in adults and can often look like other common illnesses such as colds, strep throat, or allergies. However, a rare but more serious condition can emerge in children with the virus called Kawasaki disease-like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). MIS-C in children "is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs" (CDC, 2021, para 1). At present, it is not known why some children with COVID-19 are likely to have this severe reaction, while others do not. The COVID-19 mortality rate for children infected with the virus is extremely low, nationally about .01%, and children make up .06% of all COVID-19 deaths (AAP, 2021).
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES):
COVID-19 has resulted in social isolation, parental job loss, school closures, and other stressors that increase the development of ACES or worsen their impact (Sanders, 2020). Children are especially susceptible to family stressors, such as job, food, and housing insecurity, which are linked to ACES. Bryant et al. (2020) reported the rise in child abuse and intimate partner violence, as family members were trapped with their abuser during the pandemic. Parental mental health issues and increased substance use have also been noted. Further, COVID-19 has especially affected low-income and ethnic minority children, who were already at greater risk for the development of ACES, placing them at increased risk for physical and mental health conditions. Both Sanders (2020) and Bryant et al. (2020) recommend that pediatric health care providers regularly assess for ACES, and address the short-term and long-term consequences on affected youth.