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Where have all the children gone? Decreases in paediatric emergency department attendances at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020
  1. Rachel Isba1,2,
  2. Rhiannon Edge2,
  3. Rachel Jenner3,
  4. Emily Broughton3,
  5. Natalie Francis3,
  6. Jim Butler4
  1. 1 Emergency Department, North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Lancaster Medical School, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  3. 3 Paediatric Emergency Department, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Manchester, UK
  4. 4 Emergency Department, Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Rachel Isba, Emergency Department, North Manchester General Hospital, Manchester M8 5RB, UK; rachel.isba{at}

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On Wednesday, 11 March 2020, the WHO declared a global pandemic of COVID-191—the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, a novel coronavirus first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.2 While the body of knowledge around the virus and the disease it causes grows on a daily basis, relatively little is known about the course of COVID-19 in children and young people (CYP; defined here as those under the age of 16 years).3

If the epidemiology of the pandemic in the UK follows that of countries with similar demographics and healthcare provision, it is likely that the burden of disease will fall predominantly on older age groups.4 Although CYP can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, it appears that they are mainly asymptomatic or experience mild symptoms,3 resulting in a much smaller number …

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  • Contributors RI conceived of the idea and contributed to the writing and data analysis; RE carried out the main data analysis and contributed to the writing; NF and RJ contributed to the writing; EB and JB contributed to the extraction and analysis of data.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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