Data on children and Covid-19 based on 'small amounts of evidence', warns specialist

Professor Karina Butler, Consultant Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Specialist has warned that emerging data on children and Covid-19 was based on “very small amounts of evidence”.
Data on children and Covid-19 based on 'small amounts of evidence', warns specialist

Professor Karina Butler, Consultant Paediatrician and Infectious Diseases Specialist has warned that emerging data on children and Covid-19 was based on “very small amounts of evidence”.

While the data was encouraging, Prof Butler told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland “we are on a learning curve.”

A first glance at the rate of children infected with the virus appeared that they were not as prone to infection as adults, she said, but there could be more children infected but not experiencing symptoms.

“We won’t know until we do antibody testing, that will give us a better handle.”

There could be practical reasons why children are not as easily infected as adults such as they don’t have a forceful cough and they catch common colds and viruses all the time and therefore may have more immunity.

“There are lots of potential reasons and there is conflicting data on that.”

When asked about the possibility of schools reopening soon, Prof Butler said it came down to balancing of risk.

“There is no such thing as a risk free environment.”

There were stresses for children being away from friends and social interaction, so the counter balancing of effects would have to be looked at.

“There could be different pathways for different groups.”

Any plans would have to be through a slow process “so we can pause and evaluate” she said.

More in this section