Article Text

Download PDFPDF

COVID-19, children and non-communicable diseases: translating evidence into action
Free
  1. Zulfiqar A Bhutta1,2,
  2. Marie Hauerslev3,
  3. Mychelle Farmer4,
  4. Laura Lewis-Watts1
  1. 1Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Institute for Global Health & Development, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4Advancing Synergy, LLC, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Zulfiqar A Bhutta, Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8, Canada; zulfiqar.bhutta{at}sickkids.ca

Statistics from Altmetric.com

The world faces an existential, once in a lifetime pandemic due to a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) which has to date infected over 25 million people across the world, with nearly 850 000 deaths.1 The disease, labelled COVID-19 by the WHO, has now spread to almost all the countries of the world and crippled the global economy. While high-income countries have been able to tap into their resources and reserves, for many low-income and middle-income countries, rising unemployment, population lock downs and closure of businesses have inflicted crippling damage on fragile economies, with rising inequalities and worsening poverty.

While early reports of the infection2 3 suggested that the infection may be generally mild in children with COVID-19, with general case fatality rate less than 1%, there are increasing reports of complications among children and adolescents.4 In addition, a recent series of cases with multisystem inflammatory response merits reconsideration of these risks.5 There are also clear signals of predictors for adverse outcomes from COVID-19 infections. The disease has disproportionately taken a toll among the elderly population in long-term care facilities, with many dying without even being tested for COVID-19 infection.6 There is clear evidence of excess mortality in subgroups, especially those with comorbidities, most commonly related to non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, heart disease and cancer.7 The same appears to be true among paediatric COVID-19 infections. A systematic review analysed a total of 7780 paediatric COVID-19 positive cases globally, and found that patients with information on underlying conditions (n=655) included the following comorbidities: immunosuppression (30.5%), respiratory conditions (20%) and cardiovascular disease (14%).8 A recent report from the UK of 651 hospitalised children with COVID-19 from 260 hospitals identified comorbidities in 42% (276/651) of cases.9 Comorbidities most commonly associated with …

View Full Text

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.