Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for COVID-19 end up dying although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, a new Europe-wide study showed on Friday.
A team of researchers led by experts in Britain, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of nearly 600 children under 18 infected with the novel coronavirus and found that only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions.
This is in sharp contrast to adults, among whom the vast majority of patients have underlying health problems. The team found that more than 60 percent of COVID-19 positive children required hospital treatment, and that 8 percent needed intensive care.
Of the 582 children studied, just four died. On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 percent, showed no symptoms at all.
Marc Tebruegge, from University College London's Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said that while the results shouldn't be extrapolated for the general population, they were nevertheless reassuring.
"The case fatality cohort was very low and it is likely to be substantially lower still, given many children with mild disease would not have been brought to medical attention and therefore not included in this study," he said.