Long Term Effects of COVID in Children

COVID continues to be the main topic of discussion and now school is starting. Fear is plastered all over social media posts and stories. Parents are left incapacitated by the fear surrounding the long term damage of COVID, specifically in the lungs.

Let’s take a look at what we know about COVID in brief

  • a viral illness causing inflammation and significant respiratory issues in elderly and in those with chronic diseases such as overweight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease
  • the children are overall doing well. There certainly are those kids who have a severe illness due to COVID, but the numbers are very small. From a medical perspective, compared to Flu or RSV, COVID is not interesting in children.
  • COVID is a Media Driven Pandemic – The media LOVES COVID stories. I know this first hand because I am on TV weekly if not twice weekly. Many of us rely on the media to get the facts, but instead we are getting sensational stories, freaky numbers, stories of doom and gloom, and projections of what is to come based on nothing really. Example: a story about a 100 kids who are COVID positive, have tiredness, loss of taste, and a mild cough which resolves in 5 days is a very boring story. But the one sick child, out of 73 million kids in the US, who is very sick in the ICU, makes people tune in.
  • as far as we know, COVID has been around since December 2019. There is NO LONG TERM DATA. How can there be long term data when we have only seen this for the past 8 months. Any discussion out there is speculative. Meaning, hypothesis. (U of Maryland)
  • the numbers gathered from COVID testing are USELESS. I am sure you are aware by now that at one point several health departments were only reporting positive results, but did not turn in their negative results because the departments were too busy. Moreover, if your nasal swab is positive and your antibodies are positive, this counts as 2 positive cases. I can go on and on.
  • these facts we know about the COVID environment: Abuse in Children – all time high, Neglect – all time high, Spousal Abuse – all time high, Depression and Anxiety in Children – all time high, Suicide – all time high.

Long term effects of other viral illnesses

  • It is well established that Respiratory SyncytialVirus (RSV), Rhinovirus (common cold), Metapneumovirus (another common cold), and Influenza are associated with long term lung inflammation and asthma issues in some susceptible children. (Link) In the majority of studies, the long term inflammation is not from one episode of infection, but from repeated episodes.
  • Long term neurologic consequences of Influenza are clearly documented in the literature (Link).
  • Kawasaki’s disease is associated with Rhinovirus (common cold) and it looks very similar to Multisystem Inflammatory Condition (MIC) seen in Children with COVID. MIC – 250 cases since December 2019. Kawasaki 5400+ cases per year as reported by the CDC. And Kawasaki’s Disease has been around for decades.
  • MY POINT: no one is afraid of the common cold with it’s long term risk of lung inflammation and risk for Kawasaki’s Disease. Most people have never hear of Kawasaki’s Disease. I did not hear anyone keeping their kids from school or day care because they might catch RSV or Influenza? But all of a sudden we cannot leave our house because of speculative COVID issues which have been shown to be significantly less interesting then RSV/Flu. Why? – THE MEDIA

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The long term COVID consequences of which you should be afraid, very afraid are PSYCHOLOGICAL

  • Kids are now plagued by anxiety and fear – Time
  • Kid’s fears stem from parental fears. Kids do not know to be afraid unless we, the parents, make them afraid. They interpret the world through our eyes.
  • Kids are already living in a universe that is out of their control, now their routines and day-to-day lives are disrupted. This is very difficult for children.
  • We are social creatures who need human interaction to thrive, and this has to be in person, not Zoom
  • Social isolation is THE NUMBER ONE risk factor for depression, anxiety, and suicide. (Link)

Dear parents, be careful what you read and how you interpret the information. There are long term side effects from COVID, but they are not found in the lungs of the children.

In Good Health, Dr. Ana-maria

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