12-Year-Old Girl Who Was Fighting For Life After Contracting COVID-19 Is Improving

12-Year-Old Girl Who Was Fighting For Life After Contracting COVID-19 Is Improving

Emma, an Atlanta resident, who was left fighting for her life previously, is now doing better.

Image Source: Getty Images/Portra Images (Representative)

Note: This is an update to a previously reported story

The 12-year-old Atlanta girl, who was struggling to stay alive after contracting the Coronavirus, seems to be showing improvement. The girl's cousin, Justin Anthony, shared that Emma is "slowly waking up out of sedation and is responding well to her dad and mom," according to CNN. Following an X-ray of her lungs on Tuesday, doctors at the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta-Scottish Rite Hospital revealed that health had shown "good improvement." The news about Emma's condition gained widespread attention last weekend, as the current data surrounding the COVID-19 shows that kids don't seem to contract the Coronavirus as much as adults do. Even if they do, kids have not been developing severe symptoms, per reports from Chinese health officials. 


However, this 12-year-old was left "fighting for her life" and had to be placed on a ventilator to prevent her symptoms from aggravating any further. Emma contracted the virus despite having no pre-existing health conditions. Apparently, she also did not have any recent travel history so it is not yet known where she picked it up, Anthony told the outlet. Health officials have revealed that the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of severe health consequences (including death) if they contract the virus. Although children everywhere have been contracting and thereby spreading the coronavirus, they have been generally developing only mild symptoms of the illness. 


Take the cases in China for example. Of almost 45,000 positive cases and deaths in China through February 11, only one death was recorded in someone younger than 20, according to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Out of the 731 confirmed and 1414 suspected cases of the novel Coronavirus in children residing in China, one 14-year-old boy died. No deaths were recorded among children under the age of 10. A new study that will be published in the journal Pediatrics in June noted that nearly 6% of the children's cases were severe which was pretty less when compared to cases of adults experiencing severe symptoms, which was 18.5%.


While statistics show that young adults and children have a better chance of surviving this health crisis than the elderly, they too aren't immune to the virus. Emma's case illustrates how anyone, even a kid, with no preexisting health conditions can suffer from severe complications if they contract the virus. "The evidence so far would suggest that children, at least in China, many children have gotten infected and have ... either had a very mild illness or not had any illness at all," said Dr. Reingold, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley.


After studying the reported cases of coronavirus in kids, Reingold explained that kids exhibit similar patterns with respect to other respiratory viruses, in which they easily contract and transmit the disease to other children but do not develop severe symptoms. In the U.S. there have been many cases, similar to other countries, where kids are getting sick but are not developing serious conditions. A teenager in Georgia, a high school student in Washington, and an elementary school-age kid in California, and a three-year-old from Texas, all have tested positive for the virus. But Dr. Reingold said, "Children simply don't get very sick when they get this infection. So if they develop any symptoms at all, they're mild ... and so, severe illnesses and deaths, fortunately, are incredibly rare." 


Despite this, Emma developed severe conditions quickly after contracting the virus. Now, her family is urging others to take every possible measure, such as social distancing, to keep everyone on their family, including children, safe. "I know first hand how dangerous it is," said Anthony during a previous interview. "Everyone keeps saying 'it doesn't impact younger people.' But here's 12-year-old fighting for her life. People need to practice social distancing. People need to take care of their children. People need to take this seriously." 

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