Doctor: Babies' systems more resilient against COVID-19

Posted at 9:35 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 23:54:03-04

Recent news that 85 infants younger than a year old had contracted COVID-19 in Nueces Co. sent shockwave across the state and nation.

The number may sound worrisome, especially if you have a newborn at home.

However one local pediatrician said that the good news is that most babies that age are able to recover from the novel coronavirus.

“All of these have been very brief hospitalizations, with no complications no significant problems,” said Dr. Jaime Fergie, an infectious disease doctor at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.

Fergie said 68 babies have tested positive for COVID-19 at Driscoll Children’s Hospital since testing began in March. Most babies were brought there because their parents had the virus.

He also said symptoms don't present as acutely in babies in the case that they are diagnosed with the virus.

“Many times they have a runny nose, a cough, a little fever and that's about it,” Fergie said. “So there's not a great concern for this age group.”

Fergie has a theory for why many babies may not get as sick as adults.

“What is called the receptor, the placement in the cell where the virus attaches to, and begins the infection, it’s not very well developed or present in the children,” he said, but as people get older, the receptor becomes more abundant, which makes it easier to develop a virus.

Meanwhile, Nueces County leaders said only about 1 percent of the confirmed cases in the county are babies younger than two. Of the 85 infants who have tested positive for the virus since March, 60 of them tested positive this month. Nine have had to be hospitalized, and were sent home after their symptoms receded.

To make sure your baby stays safe from COVID-19, wash your hands frequently, wear your mask because it’s recommended children under two years old not wear one, and limit a baby’s exposure to the public and even close relatives.

Fergie also mentioned to not be afraid to take your baby to the doctor’s office or hospital if they’re running a fever. It could mean underlying problems outside of COVID-19 that need medical attention.