A 12-year-old Georgia girl sickened by the novel coronavirus is reportedly "fighting for her life," CNN reports. Meanwhile, the fact that an adolescent with no underlying health conditions is sick with this disease is calling into question the claim that the virus is not as dangerous for young and healthy people.
The young lady, Emma, was diagnosed with pneumonia back on March 15 and went into an Atlanta hospital. On Saturday, she was officially diagnosed with COVID-19. By Sunday, she was on a ventilator.
As of this writing, her family says that she is in "stable" condition.
It's not clear, as of this writing, how the young lady came down with the virus, says her cousin, Anthony. She hadn't traveled recently, and she had no underlying health conditions.
"People need to practice social distancing. People need to take care of their children. People need to take this seriously," he said.
Meanwhile, the fact that an otherwise-healthy adolescent is sickened nearly to the point of dying by COVID-19, the respiratory illness that derives from the novel coronavirus, is causing consternation for health officials. Particularly because her case is not limited.
The novel coronavirus, though it has a comparatively-high fatality rate compared to the much-more-common seasonal flu, is survivable for the vast majority of people who contract it. Indeed, most people who contract the virus may not even know they ever had it, harboring the pathogen without ever having had any symptoms. Many others will have only mild symptoms.
In fact, until recently it was believed that the virus is most deadly to the elderly and to people with underlying health conditions. Younger adults were considered less at-risk than the elderly. Children and teenagers, especially healthy ones, were believed to be almost invulnerable to it.
That narrative appears to be changing, however.
For example, younger people, in the 20-44 age bracket, have accounted for 20 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States, according to a new study.
And according to a companion CNN report, some children and teenagers are coming down with the disease, although they're generally showing mild symptoms.
"Children simply don't get very sick when they get this infection," said epidemiologist Dr. Arthur Reingold.
Meanwhile, in China, an analysis of the coronavirus cases in the country where the disease first emerged shows that the disease didn't spare children. Of some 45,000 cases in the country, at least 731 children were confirmed to have been sickened by the virus. And as reported by The Inquisitr, at least one child, a 14-year-old Chinese boy, has died from the virus.