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The Latest COVID Myth You Shouldn't Believe

No, this group isn’t immune to coronavirus.

Early on in the pandemic it became clear that young people are not as adversely affected by COVID-19 as older people or those with preexisting conditions. However, over the last several months it has become clear that nobody is immune to the highly infectious and potentially deadly virus. Not even those under 18. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

It's Untrue That the Virus "Affects Virtually Nobody" Below the Age of 18

During a Monday night campaign rally in Swanton, Ohio, President Donald Trump claimed that COVID-19 "affects virtually nobody" below the age of 18, adding that the virus is mainly a risk to elderly people with heart problems and other preexisting conditions. 

"It affects elderly people, elderly people with heart problems and other problems. That's what it really affects," Trump declared. "In some states, thousands of people — nobody young. Below the age of 18, like, nobody. They have a strong immune system, who knows? Take your hat off to the young, because they have a hell of an immune system. But it affects virtually nobody. It's an amazing thing."

However, this is not the case, according to multiple studies, experts, and even Trump himself. 

During a March 19 interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward the President confirmed that "plenty of young people" had been infected by the virus, even confessing that he downplayed the risk of the virus. "Now it's turning out it's not just old people, Bob," Trump told Woodward. "But just today, and yesterday, some startling facts came out. It's not just old, older."

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Cases Among Children Under 18 are Rising "Steadily"

While we continue to learn more about how the virus affects younger people, it has become more clear as the months pass that children and young adults are far from immune. In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a report stating that the number of infections amongst children under 18 had risen "steadily" from March to July. Another CDC study pointed out that children of color were being hospitalized more than White children for COVID-19. There have also been multiple reports of children infected with the virus who come down with an inflammatory-induced illness doctors have dubbed pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Additionally, multiple studies have confirmed that children carry a higher viral load of the virus, giving them superspreading potential. 

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New Study Explains Why Children May Have a Better Immune Response 

Although cases among young people are rising, researchers are studying why children seem to have more immunity to the virus. A new study, published Monday in Science Translational Medicine by scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), and Yale University, looked at both adults and children infected with the virus — 20 of who had the novel multi-system inflammatory syndrome

"Our findings suggest that children with COVID-19 do better than adults because their stronger innate immunity protects them against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease," said co-senior author Betsy Herold, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and vice chair for research in the department of pediatrics at Einstein and CHAM. 

"These results suggest that the more severe COVID-19 disease seen in adults is not caused by a failure of their adaptive immunity to mount T-cell or antibody responses," added Kevan C. Herold, M.D., C.N.H. Long Professor of Immunology and of Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, the other co-senior author on the study. "Rather, adult patients respond to coronavirus infection with an over-vigorous adaptive immune response that may promote the inflammation associated with ARDS."

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How to Stay Safe From COVID-19

If you know or care for a young person, use caution—they can catch coronavirus, they can get sick from coronavirus and they can spread coronavirus. As for yourself: to stay safe during this pandemic, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah