Coronavirus National & International

Fears over effect of ‘long Covid’ on children

Scientists have warned that emerging data on long Covid in children should not be ignored given the lack of a vaccine for this age group, but cautioned that the evidence describing these enduring symptoms in the young is so far uncertain, according to The Guardian.

Recently published data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has caused worry. The data suggest that 13% of under 11s and about 15% of 12- to 16-year-olds reported at least one symptom five weeks after a confirmed Covid-19 infection.

Although children are relatively less likely to become infected, transmit the virus and be hospitalised, the key question is whether even mild or asymptomatic infection can lead to long Covid in children, said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London.

“The answer is that it certainly can, and the long Covid support groups contain a not insignificant number of children and teens,” Altmann said.

Sammie Mcfarland, a 45-year-old fitness instructor, and her 14-year-old daughter, Kitty, have endured a plethora of symptoms ranging from mild to debilitating since getting infected last March. Their initial attempt in May to get help led to a nurse diagnosing Mcfarland as depressed, and her daughter mimicking her symptoms.

“I came away from that appointment feeling very broken, and very unheard and questioning my own sanity,” said Mcfarland. “And then I spent three days in bed being very tearful … and I woke up after the third day thinking that I can’t be the only one.”

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