Dr. Fauci: We Should Be 'Careful' With COVID-19 And Children

Dr. Fauci: ‘We Better Be Very Careful, Particularly When It Comes To Children’

May 12, 2020 Updated May 14, 2020

dr-fauci-children
Alex Wong/Getty

Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that we don’t know enough about the effect of COVID-19 in children

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, testified before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions on the administration’s coronavirus response and while his driving motivation during the hearing was to warn of the dangers of reopening the country (including schools) too soon, the topic turned to the oft-ignored dangers of coronavirus in children.

Fauci’s entire testimony cautioned the “really serious” consequences we could face if states and areas reopen prematurely and his fears that there will be a second wave of infections in the fall. To counter this, Senator Rand Paul stated that “outside of New England we’ve had a relatively benign course for this virus nationwide” and that the economy needs to reopen. Unclear where Paul is getting this information as John Hopkins University states that just over 80,000 people have died from coronavirus in the U.S. to date (almost double the amount of deaths during the average flu season). Also, the virus is not just in New England as Paul claims. Metro areas like Los Angeles and cities including Philadelphia and Miami are not far behind in coronavirus cases.

Despite the facts, Paul went on to claim that it is “really ridiculous” to think that kids won’t be able to go to school in the fall.

As much as I respect you Dr Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all, I don’t think you’re the one person who gets to make the decision. If we keep kids out of school for another year, what’s going to happen is the poor and underprivileged kids who don’t have a parent who’s able to teach them at home are not going to learn for a full year and I think we ought to look at the Swedish model and let our kids get back to school,” Paul stated to Dr. Fauci. “I think it’s a huge mistake if we don’t let our kids get back to school in the fall.”

Currently, the narrative is that kids are mostly immune from the coronavirus, but Fauci questions this, saying we don’t know nearly enough about the virus to make that assumption.

“We don’t know everything about this virus and we really better be very careful — particularly when it comes to children,” Fauci warned. “Because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing things about what this virus can do that we didn’t see from the studies in China or in Europe. For example, right now, children presenting with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome.”

Officials in New York are currently investigating rare cases of inflammatory conditions in kids that appear to be associated with COVID-19. Per Governor Andrew Cuomo, there have been 73 reported cases of children in New York who show symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Kawasaki disease causes swelling of the heart’s blood vessels and mainly affects children under the age of 5. Symptoms include a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry lips, and red fingers or toes. Toxic shock syndrome is rare, but life-threatening and symptoms include a high temperature, a sunburn-like rash, headache, and sore throat. The World Health Organization announced last month that they were also investigating the link between COVID-19 and these new symptoms.

“I think we better be careful that we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” Fauci continued during the hearing. “So you’re right in the numbers that children, in general, do much much better than adults… but I am very careful and hopefully humble in knowing that I don’t know everything about this disease and that’s why I’m very reserved in making broad predictions.”