6/8/2020
COVID-19 & Kids:
Berrie Center doctors respond to commonly asked questions

Is my child with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at a higher risk for getting infected with COVID-19? 

No. People with T1D are not immunocompromised. Otherwise healthy children with COVID-19  (including children with T1D) seem to be more mildly affected than adults.   

Is my child at a higher risk for complications if they get COVID-19? 

There is no evidence for this. Only 1 percent of the NYC population that was hospitalized for COVID-19 was under the age of 20 years, and many had underlying issues that made them more susceptible to respiratory disease. 

What is this inflammatory syndrome in children?  

It appears that in a very small number of children, about 4-6 weeks after having COVID-19 (which may have been asymptomatic), a post viral inflammatory syndrome develops.  This syndrome, known as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS), is characterized by high fever, abdominal pain, and a rash. Children with this syndrome appear unwell.  The children with this syndrome may have inflammation around the heart.  PMIS affects children of all ages and currently we do not understand why some children develop it. 

Are children with T1D more susceptible to PMIS? 

There is no evidence of this. 

Should my child go back to school in the fall if it is open? 

As of now we are advising that you follow your district’s/school’s guidelines.   

Should my child go to sleep away summer camp? 

If you choose to send your child to sleep away camp, understand that you are accepting a level of risk that there may be cases of COVID-19 in the camp. There are inherent risks in being in a more remote area including lack of nearby medical care for any medical issues.

How about day camp versus sleep away camp?  

There is certainly a degree of risk with day camp where children are going back and forth from home and may not be able to properly socially distance or wear a mask for hours at a time.  We are not advising against it – but understand again these are risks for ALL children and families.  If someone in your home is particularly vulnerable (for example elderly), it is probably advisable that your child not attend day camp.  

Should my child follow stricter social distancing rules?

We advise that ALL children and adults follow the current social distancing guidelines set forth for everyone – try to maintain 6 feet from others, wear a mask, wash hands frequently. Encourage outdoor play dates where there is a lower risk of transmission.   

Our understanding of COVID 19 is evolving daily. The advice we are providing is based on the best scientific evidence we have available now.  This clearly may change as more data becomes available.  It is advisable to keep blood sugars as well controlled as possible to help reduce overall inflammation in the body. There are no easy answers here. Decisions will need to be made based on the level of risk that you and your family find acceptable. It is reassuring that at this time children with T1D do not seem to be affected any differently than children without T1D. The future path of the virus is unknown, so we need to make smart decisions that make the most sense at the time we are making them.