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Doctors: Kids can contract COVID-19, masks important

Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 7:14 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KWCH) - As the return of school approaches, administrators, teachers and parents are concerned about students’ health and if they’ll be able to wear masks while attending school.

Dr. Jennifer Schuster, an infectious disease doctor at Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, said while children can contract COVID-19, their presentation may look different with milder symptoms. She said it also seems that children may spread the virus less to adults, and while they’re unsure why, it could be because of their height, since they’re less likely to be face-to-face with other adults. It could also be that children have less receptors for the virus to attach to.

Schuster said masks are still an important tool to slowing the spread of COVID-19, and children at her hospital have had no problems wearing them.

“At Children’s Mercy, we’ve been following the CDC recommendations for months now. So every child that comes into the hospital, that’s 2 years of age or older, is required to wear a mask. And, our children are actually doing quite well with this. I think children are very adaptable, I think children model their parent’s behavior which really highlights the importance of parents masking, social distancing, and hygiene,” said Dr. Schuster.

Weeks before school starts, doctors and hospitals are seeing more children with COVID-19.

“Locally, we are starting to see more kids who have COVID, just in the past month, said Dr. Rebecca Reddy with Redbud Pediatrics in Wichita. Since children are more times asymptomatic or have milder symptoms with COVID-19, she said they’re not getting tested as much.

Dr. Schuster and Dr. Reddy say children likely understand this may be the new normal, and having them wearing masks is equally as important as adults wearing them.

“Just be flexible with your thinking and communicate well with your teachers at school,” Dr. Reddy said.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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