Few children with cancer and COVID-19 needed to be hospitalized in NYC, study shows

Only 5 percent of pediatric cancer patients needed to be hospitalized for symptoms of COVID-19, a study of children in New York City shows.

The study, published in JAMA Oncology, includes data from children receiving care at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and their caregivers. The center instituted a screening and testing plan to mitigate risk associated with COVID-19 in mid-March.

Between March 10 and April 12, 335 coronavirus tests were performed on pediatric patients and their caregivers.

Of the 178 pediatric patients tested, 120 were asymptomatic without known exposure. Overall, 20 children (11.2 percent) had positive test results, and only three were female. One patient with required hospitalization for COVID-19 symptoms but did not need critical care.

Seventy-four caregivers were also tested, of which 13 caregivers (17.6 percent) of 10 patients tested positive. Among 68 asymptomatic caregivers with no known exposure, 10 tested positive.

"This report suggests that pediatric patients with cancer may not be more vulnerable than other children to infection or morbidity resulting from SARS-CoV-2," study authors wrote.

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