JACKSON, Miss. (NewsNation Now) — A new study suggests a lot more children might be susceptible to catching coronavirus than previously thought after about one out of every six Mississippi children tested by mid-September had COVID-19 antibodies in their blood.
“While we see that younger children more commonly have milder disease with COVID-19, it turns out that there are a lot more kids infected with SARS-CoV-2 than case numbers indicate,” said lead author Dr. Charlotte Hobbs, professor of pediatrics and infectious diseases specialist at UMMC in a press release about the study.
Hobbs joined NewsNation and explained what this study could mean more broadly for our understanding of coronavirus.
University of Mississippi Medical Center tested blood serum samples submitted for routine lab testing from 1,603 individuals under age 18 between mid-May and mid-September 2020.
They then looked at reported Mississippi coronavirus case numbers among children, compared to the number of blood samples containing antibodies.
In September, 16.9% of those collected had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in their blood while only 2.6% did in May.
During the time period studied, the Mississippi Department of Health reported 9,044 COVID cases in children. Based on their data, the study estimated about one out of every six children -nearly 118,00- were infected by mid-September.
This would mean that that over 10 times as many children had coronavirus than reported.
The study also revealed 4.3 and 2.4 times more Hispanic and Black Mississippi children, respectively, had antibodies than non-Hispanic white children.