You might have noticed that children get ill more than adults: the NHS says it is normal for them to get eight or more colds a year. This is because children’s immune systems are encountering cold viruses for the first time and have not yet built up resistance.
Children also tend to be less conscientious about standard hygiene procedures like washing hands, catching sneezes and throwing away used tissues – all things that help prevent the spread of germs. And they are more likely to come into close contact with each other at nursery and school, compared to adults, increasing the chances of transmission.
Can they contract coronavirus and what are the symptoms for young children and babies?
Can children catch the coronavirus?
In terms of coronavirus, children can contract it: in fact, a newborn baby in north London tested positive for Covid-19, with the mother also testing positive.
Prior to this, there were reports of a pupil at a school in Devon contracting the disease.
“Initially, cases in children have been rare”, according to a paper in the JAMA medical journal, which finds that the median age of sufferers is 49–56. The older you are, the more likely you are to get infected, and the reason for this is not yet known.”
How dangerous is it for the child if they contract the virus?
Even when children do get infected, their mortality rates are relatively low compared to the average for the illness. According to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control, 0.2 per cent of children with coronavirus 10 and 19 die of it. This remains the same for people up to the age of 40, after which the death rate starts to steadily rise. The oldest in society are most seriously affected by coronavirus, with 14.8 per cent of the over-80s infected dying of the disease.