A new study from an elite university reveals that American hospitals may have been severely overcounting the true number of coronavirus cases in children, USA Today reports.
The study, from Stanford University’s School of Medicine, focused on COVID data from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford over a nine-month period, from May 10th, 2020, to February 10th, 2021. During this time span, 117 patients admitted to the hospital under the age of 18 were either confirmed to have tested positive for COVID, or were suffering from multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.
Subsequently, of those 117, about 40 percent of confirmed COVID cases were asymptomatic, meaning they were incapable of spreading the virus to anyone else. Overall, roughly 45 percent of those 117 admissions were determined to have been unlikely to be caused by the virus itself.
“It’s in keeping with what other studies have shown,” said Dr. Asim Ahmed, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases, “which is that children in general are relatively mildly affected by the infection.”
The study, published in the journal Hospital Pediatrics, was co-authored by Dr. Alan Schroeder, a clinical professor of pediatric care and pediatric hospital medicine at Stanford.
“Our goal,” Dr. Schroeder explained, “is to make sure we have accurate data on how sick children are getting. If we rely on hospitals’ positive SARS-COV-2 test results, we are inflating by about twofold the actual risk of hospitalization from the disease in kids.”
The study further showed that only about 28 percent of patients had “mild to moderate” cases of COVID, while only 7.7 percent suffered a “severe illness,” and 12.8 percent had a “critical illness.” An additional 12 percent suffered from MIS-C, which may be connected to the COVID virus.