(CNSNews.com) – There have been “very few cases” of children getting the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Congress on Tuesday, raising concerns among federal officials that children who contract the virus may be asymptomatic.
“Are children getting the coronoavirus?” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) asked Fauci at Tuesday’s Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.
“To a much lesser extent than adults, and for reasons that are still unclear. It may be that they are getting infected, but they’re symptoms are so low they’re not being recognized, but in a number of reports that have come out from China, there are very few cases less than 15 years old. You’ll always find the exception, but most of the cases are a mean age of about 50,” Fauci said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) questioned whether children somehow have “some blanket immunity” to the virus because “there aren’t many cases.”
“With regard to the children, I think it’s fascinating that there aren’t many cases, and I would suspect it would be improbable that they’re not being infected, you know that somehow they have some blanket immunity. One important thing of maybe putting this thing in perspective maybe putting a better look on the overall outbreak would be if we had numbers,” Paul said.
“I don’t know if someone would suggest to China that they do some random testing of kids in a real hotbed where there’s a huge number, because if we got 10,000 kids that weren’t getting sick or 100,000 kids, our percentage of fatality would go way down,” he added.
“There are some data about that that attack rates may not be as zero in children, but they may be asymptomatic, so there are data from a few places that are looking at that,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), testified.
“It seems more likely that they’re asymptomatic or less symptomatic,” Paul said.
“I think we’re going to get some data from the Chinese. They’ve actually been now quite cooperative in sharing data. We had a group that was under the auspices of the WHO that went to China. There was an individual from the CDC and an individual from the NIH who have now returned, and we’ll soon get a good look at the report of what they’ve had,” Fauci said.