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Children's doctor busts Covid-19 myths

Since the beginning of the pandemic, one persistent myth that won't go away, is that Covid-19 poses no more risk to kids than the flu.

Posted: Sep 23, 2021 4:25 PM
Updated: Sep 23, 2021 4:32 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Louisiana reported its 16th child death from Covid-19 Wednesday. Missouri reported its sixth earlier this month.

In total there have been more than 450 children's deaths due to Covid-19 since the pandemic began.

We spoke to Children's Mercy's top infectious disease doctor to ask how this compares to a typical flu season.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, one persistent myth that won't go away, is that Covid-19 poses no more risk to kids than the flu.

At local school board meetings, parent after parent repeats the myth as the reason children shouldn't be in masks.

Kansas City's top children's doctor studying and treating infectious diseases says that's just not true.

It's also not true that Covid-19 only affects kids with underlying or chronic conditions.

"I'm seeing healthy kids in the hospital with Covid-19. I'm seeing healthy kids in the ICU with Covid-19,” Dr. Angela Myers, Division Director, Infectious Diseases at Children’s Mercy Kansas City said.

Here are the facts.

People are 10 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than the flu. That's because Covid-19 is more contagious.

"This virus, especially the delta variant, is more contagious. If you have a more contagious virus, more people get infected, more people are going to get seriously ill and then die,” Dr. Myers said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been well over 450 children deaths due to Covid.

Compared to a typical flu season where about 100 to 150 kids die from the flu.

"It's a year and a half but even if you took out six months of that, that's still well above that mortality rate compared to influenza," Dr. Myers said.
Dr. Myers says that it's clear that Covid-19 is more deadly than the flu for both children and adults.

She also said that the flu is not something we should just be ignoring.

"The death rate is much smaller for kids than adults but still 150 deaths is still 150 deaths and you know that's too many to me," Dr. Myers said.

Other countries take the flu seriously, they get immunized and use mitigation strategies like masks.

"Some countries have been doing this for years and years so in Asia, one could argue they were on the ball quicker than we were. They do wear masks in a typical flu season and we just as Americans have not ever kind of adopted that. Had we done that before the pandemic would we have had less flu cases and less flu deaths in our country? Perhaps," Dr. Myers said.

Dr. Myers says perhaps it's time to put two myths to bed and start taking the flu and Covid-19 more seriously, especially when it comes to children.

Children's mercy also says another myth you should ignore is that masks don't work.

Dr. Meyers says they work at protecting children from Covid-19, the flu and RSV and they also keep kids in school.

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