RCPCH responds to new study on long lasting symptoms in children with COVID-19

Dr Liz Whittaker, RCPCH infectious diseases lead, responds to the study on long lasting symptoms in children with COVID-19, published on 3 August 2021.

Children who develop symptoms of COVID-19 typically get better after six days and the number who experience symptoms beyond four weeks is low (4.4%, 77/1,734), a large UK study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal has confirmed.

The study, based on data reported through a smartphone app by parents and carers, provides the first detailed description of COVID-19 illness in symptomatic school-aged children and provides reassurance that long-term symptoms are rare.

Dr Liz Whittaker, infectious disease lead at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Senior Clinical Lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, said:

This study is reassuring for the majority of children and young people who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection, and reflects what paediatricians are seeing in clinical practice. It is important that the small group of children who experience persistent symptoms can access the pathways for assessment that have been established across England in a timely fashion.

We encourage families, teachers, GP’s and paediatricians to recognise and support these young people to do this. Further research into the mechanism, diagnostics and outcomes is urgently required.