Are kids at higher risk for the novel coronavirus? Pediatricians weigh in

UNIVERSAL CITY (KABC) -- Experts are learning more about how the novel coronavirus spreads and who is most at risk.

At a conference of pediatric specialists, doctors discussed how it may also affect kids.

As airport screenings continue and more U.S. bases are being set up as quarantine facilities, we are finding out more about how infectious the novel coronavirus is.

A new report in the Journal of American Medical Association finds one person can infect two to three people and about every six days the number of cases double. When it comes to kids, there are differences in how viruses affect them.

"We always get concerned when viruses circulate around children because children have less immunity and they have less reserve than adults," said Dr. Christina Johns, senior medical advisor for PM Pediatrics.

Pediatricians are addressing the coronavirus at the annual PM Pediatrics conference in Universal City. It's the nation's largest pediatric urgent care provider.

"I know a lot of parents are concerned right now about this new coronavirus for their children and I think the important thing to do is to recognize that we are still learning about it," Johns said.

The CDC is discouraging Americans from buying or wearing face masks.

"If you had not recently been to China or have contacts who have been to China, then the risk is relatively very low right now," she said.

Researchers report of all the cases; it's been rare in children.

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus include fever, cough, respiratory distress which are very similar to the common flu. Doctors say influenza is a far greater threat to children.

"It's never too late to get your flu shot and always keep in mind hand hygiene, washing hands, staying home if you're sick and don't go back to school or work too early."

Also, avoid bringing your kids to crowded places where people may sneeze without covering their mouth.

It's good advice to avoid the flu, too.

So far this season, the CDC says about 10,000 people have died from the flu and about 70 of them have been children.
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