Children are still safe from COVID-19 with schools reopening – An immunological perspective
Aim: Countries have eased restrictions and in Kenya children have even been allowed back to school. Several parents still have fears about the health of their children as they go back to school after a long break occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak. In this review, we aim to provide the immunological basis for our argument and thus opine that it’s safe to have the children in school.
Content: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by SARSCoV-2 has affected many people worldwide, but data on how it affects children are rare. Children have so far accounted for 1% - 5% of diagnosed COVID-19 cases. A general pattern reported from multiple countries shows that those children who test positive for COVID-19 experience a mild form of the disease and have a better prognosis than adults. Deaths are extremely rare or low. Diagnostic findings show that compared to adults, elevated inflammatory markers are less common, lymphocytopenia seems rare, and fewer children develop severe pneumonia. COVID-19 is either rare in children or it has not been diagnosed that often because this age group remain asymptomatic. The consequence is that children and younger adults who do not have underlying conditions, such as impaired lung function or immunosuppression, have a much lower risk of severe forms of COVID-19 than other age groups. Children also tend to have many viral infections and it is thus possible that repeated viral exposure supports the immune system when it responds to SARSCoV-2.
Conclusion: From the above and other immunological findings we show that children in school are safe enough from COVID-19, but those with underlying medical conditions would need close and constant monitoring.