COVID‐19 under 19: A meta‐analysis
Ali, Abdulrahman Y.
Khamis, Amar H.
Ho, Samuel B.
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Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic continues to cause global havoc posing uncertainty to educational institutions worldwide. Understanding the clinical characteristics of COVID‐19 in children is important because of the potential impact on clinical management and public health decisions. Methods: A meta‐analysis was conducted for pediatric COVID‐19 studies using PubMed and Scopus. It reviewed demographics, co‐morbidities, clinical manifestations, laboratory investigations, radiological investigations, treatment, and outcomes. The 95% confidence interval (CI) was utilized. Results: Out of 3927 articles, 31 articles comprising of 1816 patients were selected from December 2019 to early October 2020 and were defined by 77 variables. Of these studies 58% originated from China and the remainder from North America, Europe and the Middle East. This meta‐analysis revealed that 19.2% (CI 13.6%–26.4%) of patients were asymptomatic. Fever (57%, CI 49.7%–64%) and cough (44.1%, CI 38.3%–50.2%) were the most common symptoms. The most frequently encountered white blood count abnormalities were lymphopenia 13.5% (CI 8.2%–21.4%) and leukopenia 12.6% (CI 8.5%–18.3%). Ground glass opacities were the most common radiological finding of children with COVID‐19 (35.5%, CI 28.9%–42.7%). Hospitalization rate was 96.3% (CI 92.4%–98.2%) of which 10.8% (CI 4.2%–25.3%) were ICU admissions, and 2.4% (CI 1.7%–3.4%) died. Conclusion: The majority of pediatric patients with COVID‐19 were asymptomatic or had mild manifestations. Among hospitalized patients there remains a significant number that require intensive care unit care. Overall across the literature, a considerable level of understanding of COVID‐19 in children was reached, yet emerging data related to multisystemic inflammatory syndrome in children should be explored.