How Many Children Have Asymptomatic COVID-19?

A team at UCSF has created a model which estimates how many pediatric cases are going unnoticed in any US county at any time.

A new research letter cohort from investigators at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) explored the use of a database-centric model which allows for calculated approximations of asymptomatic pediatric coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) cases per US county.

The findings, collected by Dylan K. Chan, MD, of the University’s Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, show a strong correlation between overall general COVID-19 incidence data and the suspected rates of asymptomatic cases among children in the US, based on testing results from 28 different children’s hospitals.

In an interview with Contagion®, Chan explained the team can now make ongoing estimates on asymptomatic pediatric cases akin to any other national database.

“What that allows us to do now is say, ‘Okay in the last 2 weeks here in San Francisco, we would estimate the asymptomatic pediatric prevalence is about 1%’,” Chan said.

Aside from painting a daunting picture of just how many in the population may be infected without detection—at a time when schools are reopening, no less—the model compensates for the limited testing capability that has come to highlight US COVID-19 response shortcomings.

You can view the UCSF team’s asymptomatic pediatric COVID-19 model here.