Why Don’t Kids Get COVID-19?

 By Shlomo Maital

  Why does the COVID-19 virus afflict us seniors, but small children seem immune?

Today’s Haaretz daily has an interesting article by science writer Asaf Ronal, addressing this question.

   First, the data, from Worldometers.   The probability of death from COVID-19, by age group:   21.9% of those 80+, 8% for those 70-79, 3.6% for those 60-69, 1.3% for those 50-59, 0.4% for those 40-49, 0.2% for those 30-39, 0.2% for those 20-29, 0.2% for those 10-19….. and, amazingly, zero %, for those 0-9. (No known fatalities, among the world’s 180,000 cases, for young children)!.

     Why?

   Here are the five main hypotheses.

  1. Young kids have more flexible, adaptable immune systems, better able to adapt to new diseases, because this is what kids’ immune systems are learning to do from the start.
  2. Young kids have a much smaller number of ‘damaged’ immune cells…such cells are more susceptible to the invasion of COVID-19 clever viruses, whose spikes poke into cells and invade them.
  3. Young kids’ cells have far fewer ‘receptors’, that viruses use to penetrate them and reproduce inside them.
  4. Young kids’ lungs have surface membranes that are far less likely or susceptible to ‘housing’ the virus and enabling them to reproduce there.
  5. Young kids still do not have the sex hormones, that may induce proteins in human cells that help the viruses reproduce, when they get inside those cells.

   

   We don’t know which, if any, of these theories is the right one. One day, maybe soon, we will find out – and perhaps that will help us old seniors as well.