Hi, Yoshi,

Researchers in Germany have published an important new study on the risk of COVID-19 in children.

Before I give you the highlights, I want to tell you what distinguishes this study from previous research on this topic.

Most studies that have looked at COVID-19 risk in children simply divide the number of kids with severe outcomes by the number of kids with confirmed COVID-19 who present to the healthcare system. 

This dramatically increases the denominator, which in turn overestimates the risk because it excludes the much higher number of children who have COVID-19 but don’t seek healthcare because their symptoms are so mild. In fact, 40% of children with COVID-19 are completely asymptomatic.

The German researchers addressed this issue by dividing the number of kids with severe outcomes by the number of all kids with COVID-19 (not just those who presented to the healthcare system). This provides a much more accurate assessment of risk. 

Here are the highlights of what the researchers found for healthy kids with COVID-19:

  • The risk of ICU admission in kids ages 0 to 17 was 8 per 100,000 (0.08%) and only 2 per 100,000 (0.02%) in kids 5 to 11. 
  • There were only 3 deaths among the 1,056,276 kids studied (0.0000284%); not a single child between 5 and 17 years old died.
  • Children 5 to 11 years old have a lower risk than those <5 years old or 12 to 17 years old.

To put this in perspective, the risk of death from flu in children ages 0 to 17 during the 2019-2020 flu season in the U.S. was approximately 10 per 1 million, or 3.33-fold higher than the risk of death from COVID-19 in this German study. 

This is great news for parents. The German study shows us that the risk of COVID-19 to all kids is very low—and even lower for healthy kids with no comorbidities or pre-existing health problems.

What’s more, we know from an accumulating body of evidence (much of which I’ve shared with you over the last 18 months) that eating a healthy diet, staying active, and maintaining adequate nutrient status (vitamin D and zinc in particular) will also help protect both adults and children from infection and severe outcomes. 

In health,
Chris