New SARS-CoV-2 variants: children are more vulnerable


In the last few weeks, the number of infants and children being admitted to hospitals due to COVID-19 severity is fast increasing in many states across the United States and worse in countries like the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, France, Denmark and Austria

Key findings

  • Among children and youth in Washington state from September 03, 2022 to September 17, 2022:
  • there were 2,746 cases (145.6 cases per 100,000 population)
    • case rates are increasing
    • the highest case rates were in ESD 171 Washington
    • 0-3 year-olds had the highest case rates (191 cases per 100,000 population)
    • there were 38 hospitalizations (2 hospitalizations per 100,000 population)
    • hospitalization rates are decreasing
  • There have been a total of 21 deaths in all children and youth in Washington state reported January 1, 2021 to Sep 17, 2022

Number of COVID-19 cases and case rate per 100,000 population in all children and youth by ESD region, September 03, 2022 – September 17, 2022

ESDPopulationCase countCase rate
ESD 101168,583292173.2
ESD 105105,235162153.9
ESD 112162,085175108.0
ESD 113119,629146122.0
ESD 11478,96690114.0
ESD 121769,8041,063138.1
ESD 123120,595241199.8
ESD 17167,904153225.3
ESD 189292,760424144.8
State total1,885,5612,746145.6

One study also found that compared with adults, children recently infected with SARS-CoV-2 have also been found to have higher levels of activated neutrophils, cells that are on the front line in the response to unfamiliar invaders. Neutrophils ingest viral particles before they have a chance to replicate.
 . . . .

Children have mild severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) confirmed disease (COVID-19) compared to adults and the immunological mechanisms underlying this difference remain unclear. Here, we report acute and convalescent innate immune responses in 48 children and 70 adults infected with, or exposed to, SARS-CoV-2. We find clinically mild SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is characterised by reduced circulating subsets of monocytes (classical, intermediate, non-classical), dendritic cells and natural killer cells during the acute phase. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2-infected adults show reduced proportions of non-classical monocytes only.

We also observe increased proportions of CD63+ activated neutrophils during the acute phase to SARS-CoV-2 in infected children. Children and adults exposed to SARS-CoV-2 but negative on PCR testing display increased proportions of low-density neutrophils that we observe up to 7 weeks post exposure. This study characterises the innate immune response during SARS-CoV-2 infection and household exposure in children.


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