Saatci and others in the Journal of the American Medical Association Paediatric tried to research this problem published online June 21st 2021.
They found in a cohort study of 2576353 children aged 0-18 years of age in England with COVID-19 disease, children who are black, Asian, or of mixed race have lower proportions of SARS-CoV-2 tests and the higher positive results COVID-19 hospitalisations compared with white children. These results were valid after key demographic factors and selected comorbidities were accounted.
Of the 2576353 children the mean age was 9.23 years 48.8% were female and 15.9% were testing for SARS-CoV-2 and 6.4% tested positive. A total of 1853 children 0.0% with confirmed COVID-19 attended hospital, 343 0.01% were admitted to hospital and 73 0.002% required intensive care. Testing varied across race. White children had the highest proportion of SARS-CoV-2 tests at 17.1% where Asian children had only 13.6% and black children had only 8.3%. Children of mixed or other races had 12.9% and had lower proportions.
Compared to white children, Asian children were more likely to have COVID-19 hospital admissions whereas black children and children of mixed or other races had comparable hospital admissions. Asian children were more likely to be admitted to intensive care and black children and to remixed or other races have longer hospital admissions.
The authors concluded that in this large population-based study exploring the association between race and childhood COVID-19 testing and hospital outcomes, several race specific disparities were observed and severe COVID-19 outcomes.
However, ascertaining bias and residual confounding in this cohort study should be considered.
Race may play an important role in childhood COVID-19 outcomes and this reinforces the continued need for a race tailored focus on health system performance and targeted public health interventions.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
Founder, The London General Practice