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How serious is COVID-19 for young children?

As of mid-November 2021, over 16,000 children and youth have tested positive for COVID-19 in Manitoba. Blood tests, or seroprevalence data, suggest as many as 45,000-60,000 may have had COVID-19. 

Since October 1, 2021 over half of cases among those under the age of 18 have been among children between the ages five and 11.

Among all children and youth, the risk of needing hospital care is about 1 in 200. The risk of needing intensive care is about 1 in 1,700, while the risk of death is about 1 in 20,000. The risk of MIS-C, an inflammatory disease affecting multiple organs that can occur weeks after a COVID infection, is between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 1,300. 

The risks for children can change as new variants emerge. For example, the Delta and Omicron variants are much more transmissible than earlier versions of COVID-19.

Further Reading:

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children in Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada)