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Data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that only about 100 children and teenagers have died from COVID-19 disease in the United States. This death rate has caught the attention of clinicians and researchers, hoping to understand why.

According to statistics from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, COVID-19 is the third leading cause of death in the United States this year. However, as of September 10, 18 states had no deaths among people under the age of 20.

In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on September 3, Steinman’s team examined why children may be protected by the new coronavirus.

Larry Steinman, Professor of Pediatrics and Neurology at Stanford University School of Medicine, said, “It appears that this deadly disease which had caused so much mortality seems to be sparing kids dramatically.”

When it comes to death, the data is consistent. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week reported 121 deaths among people under the age of 21 through July 31. The site breaks down mortality among children into different categories. The data shows that there are only 34 deaths in children aged 0-4 and 58 deaths in children and teenagers aged 5-17. The Academy of Pediatrics recorded 105 deaths through September 10.

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median age at death is 16 years. The report examines deaths in people under the age of 21.

Researchers say figuring out why kids are doing so much better than adults on this pandemic can provide evidences about treatments that can work for everyone. “This is a mystery. I think it’s biological and virological,” said Yvonne Maldonado, professor of pediatrics, health policy, and research at Stanford University and chairmain of the infectious disease committee for the School of Pediatrics.

“The main idea is that children’s cells contain fewer ACE2 receptors compared to older people. The ACE2 receptor is where the coronavirus is blocked when it enters the cell. If this proves to be key, scientists may be able to find a way to prevent the virus from infecting susceptible people, not just the elderly, but people with underlying conditions like heart disease and diabetes as well.” Said Yvonne Maldonado

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