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It’s Time to Put Children and Young People First During the Global COVID-19 Pandemic

Educational Objective
To understand the importance of researching the role children and young people play in spreading COVID-19
1 Credit CME

Children have been relatively spared from the effect of clinical coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The newly described inflammatory syndrome1,2 is rare in terms of the total population of children, and severe acute forms of COVID-19 are even rarer in children and young people.3 Despite this, both experts and the public have struggled to come to terms with the fact that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is also different from all other known respiratory viral infections: there is significant uncertainty regarding children and young people’s ability to catch, transmit, and spread the virus. With no immediate vaccine or cure available, the only effective public health response has been widespread lockdown, including school closures now approaching more than half of the calendar year at considerable detriment to the long-term education and mental health of an entire generation.4,5 With the start of the academic year in northern hemisphere countries, there is an urgent need to understand children’s role in transmitting SARS-CoV-2.

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Article Information

Corresponding Author: Saul N. Faust, MD, PhD, National Institute of Health Research Southampton Clinical Research Facility, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, United Kingdom (s.faust@soton.ac.uk).

Published Online: September 25, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.4582

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Faust reports personal fees or grants for contract commercial clinical trials were paid to his institution (with no personal payment of any kind) from AstraZeneca/MedImmune, Sanofi, Pfizer, Seqirus, Sandoz, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Johnson & Johnson outside the submitted work. Drs Faust and Munro are funded in part by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Southampton Clinical Research Facility; Dr Faust is an NIHR senior investigator.

References
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International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infection Consortium. Accessed September 15, 2020. https://isaric.tghn.org/
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