Association Between Race and COVID-19 Outcomes Among Children in England

Priscilla Lynch 

June 21, 2021

Ethnic minority children in England are more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than White children, with Asian children more likely to be admitted to hospital with the illness, finds an observational analysis of 2.6 million health care records led by Oxford University researchers.

Reported today in  JAMA Paediatrics,  the largest population study of COVID-19 in children to date suggests a link between ethnicity and COVID-19.

In this cohort study, researchers analysed a nationally representative sample of 2,576,353 electronic health care records of children from participating family practices in England to investigate the association between race and childhood COVID-19 testing and hospital outcomes (January-November 2020).

Overall, 410,726 (15.9% of the total cohort) children were tested for SARS-CoV-2, with 26,322 (6.4% of children tested) testing positive, 343 (0.01% of total cohort) admitted to hospital and 73 (0.002%) requiring intensive care.

Testing varied across race: 17.1 per cent of White children were tested for SARS-CoV-2 compared with 13.6 per cent of Asian children, 12.9 per cent of children from mixed/other ethnicities and 8.3 per cent of Black children.

Compared with White children, the odds of a positive test were higher in Asian (1.8 times more likely), Black (1.12 times more likely) and mixed/other ethnicity (1.14 times more likely) children.

Asian children were 1.62 times more likely to be hospitalised and 2.1 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care unit with confirmed COVID-19 compared with White children.

Black, mixed race and children from other ethnicities were more likely to remain in hospital for 36 hours or longer compared with White children.

Co-author Prof Julia Hippisley-Cox said: "While children are at a substantially lower risk from COVID-19 compared with adults, this study suggests that race and ethnicity play an important role in outcomes for COVID-19 across all age groups. Our findings reinforce the need for ethnicity-tailored approaches to diagnosing and managing COVID-19 in community settings, so those families at most risk of severe illness are better informed and have greater access to tests."

Saatci D, Ranger TA, Garriga C, Clift AK, Zaccardi F, Tan PS, et al. Association between race/ethnicity and COVID-19 outcomes in 2.6 million children in England. JAMA Pediatr. 2021 June 21 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.1685.

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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