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Disappearing act: COVID-19 and paediatric emergency department attendances
  1. Lisa Dann1,
  2. John Fitzsimons1,
  3. Kathleen M Gorman2,3,
  4. Jonathan Hourihane1,4,
  5. Ikechukwu Okafor1
  1. 1 Emergency Department, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Department of Neurology and Clinical Neurophysiology, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  3. 3 Department of Paediatrics, University College Dublin School of Medicine and Medical Science, Dublin, Ireland
  4. 4 Department of Paediatrics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ikechukwu Okafor, Emergency Department, Temple Street Children's University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland; Ikechukwu.Okafor{at}

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A 73%–88% reduction in paediatric emergency department (PED) presentations has been reported during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-2-CoV-2) pandemic.1 The magnitude of this decrease suggests that a combination of biological, psychological and social factors influence the decisions of families to attend PED.

Our hospital is the busiest PED in Ireland, with ~55 000 emergency department (ED) attendances/year. Ireland‘s first SAR-2-CoV-2 case was reported on 29 February; schools/childcare facilities were closed on 12 March; and a stay-at-home order was issued on 27 March. As of 18 May, only 402 of the 24 036 total cases of SARS-CoV-2 in Ireland were children aged <14 years (1.6%), with 36 hospitalised, 2 requiring intensive care unit care and no reported deaths in children.

A single-centre retrospective review of presentations for March and April 2018, 2019 and 2020, covering the three phases of the national response, …

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  • 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.