Statistics show that one in 10 COVID-19 cases involve children. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association state more than 657,000 kids and teens have tested positive for the virus as of Oct. 1. While doctors say that children, in general, are rarely severely affected by the disease, those who develop complications may suffer long-term effects.
According to CNN, many of these children suffer debilitating symptoms for months. Researchers at DePaul University in Chicago are studying these “long haulers” to gather data on possible causes.
Leonard Jason, a professor of clinical psychology at DePaul, is an expert on post-pandemic effects.
“If you look at all the pandemics from the Spanish flu on down, a certain number of people never get better,” he said, according to CNN. “At least 10% six months later seem to be still having symptoms. With COVID-19, I think the rates could be very much higher.”
Joeyanna Hodnett, 13, who lives near Boston developed symptoms last March. An aspiring athlete, she ran 7 miles easily before contracting COVID-19. Today, she can barely walk and takes 18 pills a day to cope with the pain, gastrointestinal distress, and other conditions caused by the disease, according to CNN.
“Her central nervous system has just been trashed,” said her mother. “It’s like a tornado just went through.”
Physicians have noticed that some of the long-term effects involve neurological damage in children. Dr. Omar Abdel-Manna, a pediatric neurology specialist from the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, told NBC News that he’s concerned about the onset of neurological symptoms in children with COVID-19.
“The virus has surprised us in so many, many ways,” he said. “It does need really good quality longitudinal assessments and studies that will be looking at the cognition of these children, looking at their long term psychological and psychiatric health.”
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