By Lindsey Thompson and Sonja A. Rasmussen, JAMA Pediatrics, March 13, 2020
A new viral illness called coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was discovered in China in December 2019.
Lessons learned from China and similar viral diseases can help families prepare for spread in the US. How children in the US will be affected is still mostly unknown. So far, proportionately fewer children have gotten sick in China, and the effects on them have mostly been mild. It is important for families to prepare for spread in the US.
COVID-19 appears to be spread via respiratory secretions when infected people cough or sneeze, similar to how influenza (flu) spreads. Currently, people at risk for COVID-19 include those who have been in close contact with infected people within 14 days before their symptoms began. The average time from when persons are exposed to signs of illness is about 5 days and can range from 2 to 14 days. People with COVID-19 have fever, cough, muscle aches, headache, and diarrhea, which are all symptoms similar to other viral infections, such as the flu. People who need hospitalization usually have severe pneumonia. Currently, there are no treatments or vaccines available.