The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that it’s investigating possible cases of long-haul COVID-19 among children —even after they only experienced mild cases.
Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that they are looking at data that suggests that some children are still suffering from lingering side effects after they are no longer testing positive for the virus, regardless of the severity.
“We are examining long COVID in children and we are seeing long COVID symptoms, mostly fatigue and headache,” Walensky said at a press briefing.
However, she said, potential cases “appear to be happening at rates that are lower than they are in adults.”
Health experts have warned about similar cases among adult COVID-19 survivors, but it’s unclear what makes someone who recovered from the virus more susceptible to long-lasting issues.
The troubling reports about children come as pediatric COVID-19 cases are on the rise amid the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.
The strain, which first emerged in India in December, now accounts for almost 95 percent of new infections in the United States, according to the CDC.
But White House Chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that it’s still unclear whether the contagious variant causes more severe illness in children.
“There were a couple of studies, mostly international, which suggested that Delta was more severe in the adults, namely causing more relative percentage of hospitalization and more severe disease,” Fauci said.
“With regard to children, this could possibly be the case but we are not seeing this in a definitive way. The only thing we know for sure is that more infections mean more children will be in the hospital.”
Vaccination offers strong protection against severe infection, with CDC data showing there’s only a minuscule risk of vaccinated Americans becoming seriously sick with breakthrough cases.
Currently, children under the age of 12 cannot receive jabs, but shots could be available by early to mid-winter — offering relief to millions of parents, a Food and Drug Administration official said last month.