Twelve-year-old girl is ‘fighting for her life’ after testing positive for coronavirus, family says

Twelve-year-old girl is ‘fighting for her life’ after testing positive for coronavirus, family says

A 12-year-old girl named Emma from Atlanta, Georgia, is on a ventilator and “fighting for her life” after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, her cousin Justin Anthony told CNN. Emma was diagnosed with pneumonia on March 15 and tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday. As of Saturday, she is on a ventilator and in stable condition at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite Hospital, Anthony said.

According to her family, Emma had no preexisting health conditions, nor did she travel recently so it is not clear how she contracted the virus. “The patient remains in isolation, and we have consistently used appropriate precautions. Additional details will not be released due to patient privacy laws,” Jessica Pope told CNN, a spokesman from the hospital.

While her mother stays with her in the hospital, Emma’s 13-year-old brother is in self-isolation and home alone, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Anthony told the outlet that while relatives bring the child food daily they are unable to have physical contact.

The family’s purpose of sharing Emma’s story was to create awareness on how COVID-19 affects children. “Kids can get it and I know one who’s fighting for her life,” Anthony told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Misconceptions on how the virus is spread, who can get infected, and who is at risk have spread worldwide. Many believe that teenage children and young adults are less likely to be infected than others.

According to Wired, because the earliest data during the outbreak depicted children under 10 as the smallest group to identify infections and found that respiratory disease affected those over 50 more, many believed the elderly were more at risk. The data, however, failed to depict whether the virus was only transmitted to elder individuals or if they just had worse or more apparent symptoms.

New studies and data show that while some children may show less severe symptoms from the virus than adults, that does not mean children are not at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most children who have tested positive for COVID-19 have had mild cold-like symptoms such as fever, runny nose, and cough. While children with underlying conditions are at more risk, “there is much more to be learned about how the disease impacts children,” the CDC noted on its website. Since children show less-severe symptoms, there could also be a possibility that they are tested less for COVID-19, as opposed to being infected less. As more research is done on how the disease is spread and affects populations, it is important to follow regulations and guidelines given by health experts.

While symptoms might vary for different age groups, caution should be taken by all to ensure the virus is not spread further. No matter how mild symptoms may be practicing social distancing and good hygiene, such as washing hands frequently, is of utmost importance especially during such a pandemic. The virus does not discriminate against age groups; anyone can be infected. The only way to “flatten the curve” is to follow warnings by not holding social gatherings and to stay home in order to break the chain of transmission. This isn’t an elderly virus, and no one is immune.

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