How are children and newborns affected by COVID-19?

Bottom Line

This study found that the most commonly experienced clinical symptoms among children under the age of 18 were fever, cough, and sore throat. Additionally, symptoms were less severe, compared to adults, as approximately 95% of cases either didn’t have symptoms, or only had mild to moderate symptoms from infection with COVID-19.


Liguro, I. et. al. SARS-COV-2 infection in children and newborns: a systematic review. European Journal of Pediatrics (2020). DOI: 10.1007/s00431-020-03684-7

Date Published:

18 May 2020


This study looked at 7,480 children up to the age of 18 years, to better understand the clinical symptoms affecting this age group. The most commonly experienced clinical symptom was fever, followed closely by cough, then sore throat to a lesser extent. Approximately half of the children who received X-rays were also seen to have abnormalities on them. Overall, the estimated mortality rate for children of this age group was 0.08%. This study found that, compared to adults, children were less likely to develop severe symptoms from COVID-19. Children were more likely to have symptoms outside of the respiratory system, such as vomiting and diarrhea. As well, newborns were found to have more severe symptoms as compared with older children. Additionally, 95% of the cases were either asymptomatic (i.e. did not show symptoms), or had only mild to moderate symptoms. Although the reasoning for decreased death among children is not entirely known, it is hypothesized that the expression of a protein angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) has much to with the development of disease from infection of this virus. It is only later in childhood that ACE2 begins to become expressed.

Summary by: Max Solish