In a recent Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) publication, CITF-funded researchers Drs. Karina Top (Dalhousie University), Manish Sadarangani (University of British Columbia), Jesse Papenburg (McGill University), and led by Drs. Fatima Kakkar and Shaun Morris, described 264 children who were admitted to hospital in Canada with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in 2020. They also found that severe cases were more likely among children with obesity and certain comorbidities.

Key findings:

  • The overall number of children under 18 admitted to hospital in 2020 with a SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada was low (n=264). It is estimated that this number represents about 70% of all children admitted to hospital in Canada with SARS-CoV-2 infection over the study time frame. Approximately 40% of identified infections were incidental.
  • Among children admitted to hospital for COVID-19, half (50.0%) were categorized as having severe disease, 21.3% required admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 13.3% required cardiac or respiratory support greater than low-flow oxygen.
  • Severe COVID-19 was more likely among children with obesity, chronic neurologic, and respiratory comorbidities (other than asthma).
  • Severity did not differ significantly by sex, most population groups, or region of residence.
  • There were more reported hospitalizations with SARS-CoV-2 infection among infants (under 1 year) and adolescents (13–17 years-old) than among preschool (1–5 years-old) or school-aged (6–12 years-old) children.
  • A better understanding of overall disease severity in children, and at-risk groups of children is important to tailor mitigation efforts to protect this priority population and for future implementation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in this age group.

Drouin O, Moore Hepburn C, Farrar DS, Baerg K, Chan K, Cyr C, Donner EJ, Embree JE, Farrell C, Forgie S, Giroux R, Kang KT, King M, Laffin M, Luu TM, Orkin J, Papenburg J, Pound CM, Price VE, Purewal R, Sadarangani M, Salvadori MI, Top KA, Viel-Thériault I, Kakkar F et Morris SK. Characteristics of children admitted to hospital with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in Canada in 2020. CMAJ September 27, 2021 193 (38) E1483-E1493; DOI: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/193/38/E1483