The Older Pediatric COVID-19 Problem


At a time when schools and college campuses have reopened, an expert discusses adolescents' trends in spreading COVID-19 more easily, and the lack of testing available to them.

An asymptomatic pediatric coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) rate of just 1% is enough to assure that modern testing protocol could never practically resolve the spread of undetectable cases.

But that doesn’t make the current US COVID-19 testing strategy any more appropriate.

In the final segment of an interview with Contagion®, Dylan K. Chan, MD, of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Department of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, shared perspective on what his team’s Pediatric COVID-19 Risk Assessment Tool means for younger patient spread in the coming months.

As he explained, small prevalence rates from 1-3% create an inevitability of “super spread” events in classrooms, get-togethers, and other gatherings.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise at all, knowing what we know about these numbers,” he said.

Chan also explained what these findings, coupled with national guidance to refrain from asymptomatic-risk testing due to limited resources, spell for future management of COVID-19.

He’s in agreement that, in current circumstances of testing scarcity, greater-risk persons need to be prioritized—and that puts children at the end of the line.

“That’s not an ideal situation, and we’re never going to get things under control as long as we’re in that situation,” he said.

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