By Amy Orciari Herman
NEJM Journal Watch
Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Lorenzo Di Francesco, MD, FACP, FHM
Three quarters of SARS-CoV-2-related deaths in U.S. youth under age 21 occurred among those with underlying health conditions, an MMWR study finds.
CDC researchers identified 121 deaths related to COVID-19 or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MISC) in people under 21 across the U.S. from February through July. Among the other findings:
- Some 70% of the deaths were in those aged 10 through 20 years, 20% were in children aged 1 through 9, and 10% occurred in those under 1 year.
- Latino and Black youth were disproportionately affected, accounting for 74% of deaths.
- The most common underlying conditions were chronic lung disease (mostly asthma), obesity, neurologic/developmental conditions, and cardiovascular conditions.
- Some 65% of deaths occurred in the hospital, 19% in the emergency department, and 13% at home.
The researchers call for “clear, consistent, and developmentally, linguistically, and culturally appropriate COVID-19 prevention messages” for young people, particularly those at increased risk.