Parents of children who have been dealing with coronavirus symptoms months after getting sick fear that kids can be “long haulers” of the virus after nearly 100,000 in the United States tested positive in the last two weeks of July.
Between July 16 and July 30, 97,078 U.S. children tested positive for COVID-19 — a 40 percent increase in cases in children, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. The report used public data from 49 U.S. states, Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico.
Since the pandemic started, around 339,000 children have tested positive, representing 8.8 percent of all cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. In 25 states, 10 percent or more cases were children.
Indiana Evans, a 14-year-old from the United Kingdom, is one of the many children dealing with likely COVID-19 symptoms for months.
After Indiana got sick in March, her mother, Jane Evans, told CNN that her daughter was “suffering migraines and seeing flashing lights.”
“Her face all swelled up, her eyes swelled up, she got a rash all over her body,” Evans said. Indiana didn’t get tested for COVID-19 but was diagnosed with “post-viral fatigue post-COVID” and has still been experiencing symptoms.
Thousands of people have joined Facebook support groups, calling themselves “long-haulers” and saying they’ve been battling COVID-19 symptoms for at least a month after getting sick, McClatchy News previously reported.
A woman from southeast England identified only as Birgit told CNN that her 7-year-old son can’t run “without being noticeably out of breath” and is experiencing fatigue four months after getting COVID-19. Birgit, her husband, and her son got infected in March.
Chandra Pasma, her husband, and three kids in Toronto fell sick in mid-March and ever since have been getting different symptoms that would appear and disappear, according to CTVNews.
“That was really difficult to manage,” Pasma said. “It felt like for the longest time, nothing worked.”
Her 7-year-old twins suffered a persistent cough for 12 to 18 weeks, with intermittent bouts of nausea and chest pain, CTVNews reported.
Around 80 percent of COVID-19 infections are “mild or asymptomatic” and people with mild cases typically recover in around two weeks, according to a World Health Organization report.
Symptoms of the lingering disease include “fatigue, a racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, achy joints, foggy thinking, a persistent loss of sense of smell, and damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, and brain,” Science Magazine reported.
Children don’t have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 than adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But research published in July in the journal JAMA Pediatrics found that children under the age of 5 can have 100 times more of the virus in their nose when compared to adults and older children, McClatchy News previously reported.
The concern over children and the coronavirus comes as schools across the U.S. weigh whether to welcome children back to the physical classroom or start the school year in a virtual setting to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 5 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and more than 163,000 people have died in the country as of August 10, according to Johns Hopkins University.