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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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Pooled RT-qPCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in schools - a cluster randomised trial

Alexander Joachim; Felix Dewald; Isabelle Suárez (et al.)

Published: September 2021   Journal: EClinicalMedicine

The extent to which children and adolescents contribute to SARS-CoV-2 transmission remains not fully understood. Novel high-capacity testing methods may provide real-time epidemiological data in educational settings helping to establish a rational approach to prevent and minimize SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This study investigated whether pooling of samples for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-qPCR is a sensitive and feasible high-capacity diagnostic strategy for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infections in schools. In this study, students and school staff of 14 educational facilities in Germany were tested sequentially between November 9 and December 23, 2020, two or three times per week for at least three consecutive weeks. Participants were randomized for evaluation of two different age adjusted swab sampling methods (oropharyngeal swabs or buccal swabs compared to saliva swabs using a ‘lolli method’).

Slow life history strategies and increases in externalizing and internalizing problems during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lei Chang; Yuan Yuan Liu; Hui Jing Lu (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Research on Adolescence
The COVID-19 pandemic is but one of many instances of environmental adversities that have recurred in human history. Biobehavioral resource allocation strategies, known as fast (reproduction-focused) versus slow (development-focused) life history (LH) tradeoff strategies, evolved to deal with environmental challenges such as infectious diseases. Based on 141 young people and their mothers observed prior to (ages 9 and 13) and during (age 20) COVID-19, we investigated longitudinal relations involving slow LH strategies. The results support the adaptive role of slow LH strategies in reducing COVID-related increases in externalizing problems. In addition, the effect of early adversity on COVID-related increases in externalizing was mediated, and the effect on COVID-related increases in internalizing was moderated, by slow LH strategies.
COVID-19 instructional approaches (in-person, online, hybrid), school start times, and sleep in over 5,000 U.S. adolescents

Lisa J. Meltzer; Jared M. Saletin; Sarah M. Honaker (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Sleep

This study aims to examine associations among instructional approaches, school start times, and sleep during the COVID-19 pandemic in a large, nationwide sample of U.S. adolescents. Cross-sectional, anonymous self-report survey study of a community-dwelling sample of adolescents (grades 6–12), recruited through social media outlets in October/November 2020. Participants reported on instructional approach (in-person, online/synchronous, online/asynchronous) for each weekday (past week), school start times (in-person or online/synchronous days), and bedtimes (BT) and wake times (WT) for each identified school type and weekends/no school days. Sleep opportunity was calculated as BT-to-WT interval. Night-to-night sleep variability was calculated with mean square successive differences.

Young people's drug use stayed level during pandemic

Alison Knopf

Published: August 2021   Journal: Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly
Alcohol use declined and use of nicotine and misuse of prescriptions increased among 10-to-14-year-olds during the pandemic, according to a study published last week. Overall, the rate of drug use among these young people remained stable during the pandemic based on repeated surveys of more than 7,800 people ages 10 to 14 conducted between September 2019 and August 2020.
A cross-sectional survey exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the cancer care of adolescents and young adults

Kaitlyn Howden; Camille Glidden; Razvan G. Romanescu (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Current Oncology
This study aimed to describe the negative and positive impacts of changes in cancer care delivery due to COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) in Canada, as well as the correlates of negative impact and their perspectives on optimization of cancer care. It conducted an online, self-administered survey of AYAs with cancer living in Canada between January and February 2021. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with a negative impact on cancer care. Of the 805 participants, 173 (21.5%) experienced a negative impact on their cancer care including delays in diagnostic tests (11.9%), cancer treatment (11.4%), and appointments (11.1%). A prior diagnosis of mental or chronic physical health condition, an annual income of <20,000 CAD, ongoing cancer treatment, and province of residence were independently associated with a negative cancer care impact (p-value < 0.05). The majority (n = 767, 95.2%) stated a positive impact of the changes to cancer care delivery, including the implementation of virtual healthcare visits (n = 601, 74.6%). Pandemic-related changes in cancer care delivery have unfavorably and favorably influenced AYAs with cancer. Interventions to support AYAs who are more vulnerable to the adverse effects of the pandemic, and the thoughtful integration of virtual care into cancer care delivery models is essential.
Cite this research | Open access | Vol.: 28 | Issue: 4 | No. of pages: 13 | Language: English | Topics: Health | Tags: adolescent health, COVID-19 response, health care, health services, lockdown, social distance | Countries: Canada
Age-dependent seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in school-aged children from areas with low and high community transmission

Lise Boey; Mathieu Roelants; Joanna Merckx (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics
It is not yet clear to what extent SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in children reflect community transmission, nor whether infection rates differ between primary schoolchildren and young teenagers. A cross-sectional serosurvey compared the SARS-CoV2 attack-rate in a sample of 362 children recruited from September 21 to October 6, 2020, in primary (ages 6–12) or lower secondary school (ages 12–15) in a municipality with low community transmission (Pelt) to a municipality with high community transmission (Alken) in Belgium. Children were equally distributed over grades and regions. Blood samples were tested for the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
COVID-19 hospitalization rate in children across a private hospital network in the United States

Tommy Y. Kim; Esther C. Kim; Adrian Z. Agudelo (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Archives de Pédiatrie

There are limited studies with varying results evaluating the rate of hospitalizations of pediatric patients tested for COVID-19 in the United States. More information in the pediatric COVID-19 literature is needed. The objective of this study was to describe the rates of positive tests, hospitalization, severe disease, and mortality for COVID-19 in children. This study performed a retrospective analysis of data collected from a data warehouse from 184 hospitals across the United States. All cases of pediatric patients who were tested for COVID-19 were analyzed for test positivity, hospitalization, severe disease, and mortality. A separate subgroup analysis for ages < 1 year, 1–4 years, 5–8 years, 9–14 years, and 15–17 years was performed.

Global characteristics and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents with cancer (GRCCC): a cohort study

Sheena Mukkada; Nickhill Bhakta; Guillermo L. Chantada (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: The Lancet Oncology

Previous studies have shown that children and adolescents with COVID-19 generally have mild disease. Children and adolescents with cancer, however, can have severe disease when infected with respiratory viruses. In this study, we aimed to understand the clinical course and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents with cancer. We did a cohort study with data from 131 institutions in 45 countries. We created the Global Registry of COVID-19 in Childhood Cancer to capture de-identified data pertaining to laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and adolescents (<19 years) with cancer or having received a haematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. There were no centre-specific exclusion criteria. The registry was disseminated through professional networks through email and conferences and health-care providers were invited to submit all qualifying cases. Data for demographics, oncological diagnosis, clinical course, and cancer therapy details were collected.

Living with the Covid-19 pandemic: adolescent experiences in Jordan

Bassam Abu Hamad; Sarah Baird; Nicola Jones (et al.)

The population of Jordan has increased rapidly over the past 10 years, with the country taking in more than a million Syrian refugees, of whom nearly half are below the age of 18 years. The Government of Jordan, supported by the international community, has made substantial efforts to provide basic services for its refugees, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put additional pressure on the country’s limited resources. Given that young people account for a relatively large proportion of the population, especially the refugee population, it is critical that we understand what impacts the pandemic is having on adolescent girls and boys in order to ensure that the national response by government, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and development partners including the United Nations (UN) are adolescent-friendly and equitable. This research brief draws on the findings of a questionnaire-based telephone survey involving nearly 3000 adolescent boys and girls, conducted as part of the Region-wide Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research programme which is co-funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean.

Living with the Covid-19 pandemic: adolescent experiences in the State of Palestine

Bassam Abu Hamad; Sarah Baird; Nicola Jones (et al.)

As elsewhere, in the State of Palestine, the burden of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality has overwhelmingly fallen on older people. There is, however, growing recognition that younger people, including adolescents aged 10–19 years who account for more than a fifth of the population (1), are also suffering negative impacts on their health because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given that nearly 40% of the population in the State of Palestine are refugees it is important to distinguish between the experiences of the non-refugee and the refugee adolescent populations, and within the latter, those living in camp and non-camp settings. Such disaggregated evidence will help to inform national response plans by government and development partners to ensure that they are both adolescent-responsive and equitable. This policy brief draws on findings of a questionnaire-based telephone survey involving just over 1000 adolescent boys and girls which was conducted as part of the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) longitudinal research programme.

Setting priorities to address research gaps in long-term COVID-19 outcomes in children

Daniel Munblit; Louise Sigfrid; John O. Warner

Published: August 2021   Journal: JAMA Pediatrics

Increasing numbers of people with prolonged symptoms after recovery from COVID-19 infection (long COVID) have been reported, prompting calls for research. Symptoms of long COVID are poorly characterized, with several phenotypes described, and the causes, treatments, and outcomes are unknown. Calls for research fail to address long COVID in children and adolescents. Given the demand for appropriate care for patients with this condition, agencies have published guidelines on treatment. However, these guidelines inappropriately combine research requirements and services for the children and older adults. The long-term consequences of COVID-19 remain unknown, but prolonged symptom duration and disability are commonly reported among adults. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines classify infection sequalae by the duration of symptoms, providing interim definitions for long COVID based on limited evidence from small cohorts with short-term follow-up of adults. The paucity of high-quality studies is a barrier to a comprehensive definition of long COVID and postacute COVID. This definition and harmonization of research, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals with long COVID could allow for cohesive national and international data collection and better estimation of incidence, prevalence, and risk factors that are tailored to different age groups.

Attachment security predicts adolescents’ prosocial and health protective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic

Brianne R. Coulombe; Tuppett M. Yates

Published: August 2021   Journal: Child Development
Prosocial and health protective behaviors are critical to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, yet adolescents have been difficult to engage. Attachment security promotes adolescents’ capacities to navigate stress, and influences prosocial and health behaviors. Drawing on a diverse sample of 202 adolescents (48% female; 47.5% Latinx) this study evaluated relations among attachment, mental health, and prosocial and health protective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attachment security (age 12) predicted adolescents’ (age 15) COVID-19 prosocial (f2 = .201) and health protective behaviors (f2 = .274) during the pandemic via smaller-than-expected increases in mental health symptoms above pre-pandemic levels (age 14). Findings highlight the importance of attachment for supporting adolescents’ mental health responses to life stressors and promoting prosocial and health protective behaviors.
Can measures of sleep quality or white matter structural integrity predict level of worry or rumination in adolescents facing stressful situations? Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic

Daniel Jamieson; Lee Kannis-Dymand; Denise A. Beaudequin (et al.)

Published: August 2021   Journal: Journal of Adolescence
COVID-19 has resulted in major life changes to the majority of the world population, particularly adolescents, with social-distancing measures such as home-based schooling likely to impact sleep quality. Increased worry is also likely considering the substantial financial, educational and health concerns accompanying COVID-19. White matter (WM) integrity has been shown to be associated with anxiety and depression symptoms, including worry, as well being closely associated with sleep quality. This study aimed to investigate the associations between pre-COVID sleep quality, WM structural integrity and levels of worry and rumination about COVID.
Editorial Perspective: Challenges of research focusing on child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 era: what studies are needed?

Marco Solmi; Samuele Cortese; Christoph U. Correll

Published: August 2021   Journal: The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
This editorial perspective focuses on the challenges of research on child and adolescent mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Common limitations of published/ongoing studies are (i) being conducted in one or few countries, (ii) the survey being available in one or few languages, (iii) targeting selected samples (e.g., clinical populations and health workers) rather than the general population, (iv) only recruiting/reporting on non-representative samples, (v) focusing often on a restricted set of mental health outcomes, missing the broader picture of mental and physical health, quality of life and functioning, (vi) failing to use a longitudinal design and (vii) collecting only parental ratings or self-rated questionnaires from children and adolescents, but not both.
Long-term symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents

Thomas Radtke; Agne Ulyte; Milo A. Puhan; Milo A. Puhan (et al.)

Published: July 2021   Journal: JAMA

Children can experience SARS-CoV-2 postviral syndromes, but it is unclear to what extent these individuals are affected by long COVID. Evidence is predominantly limited to select populations without control groups,1-4 which does not allow estimating the overall prevalence and burden in a general pediatric population. This study compared symptoms compatible with long COVID in children and adolescents (hereafter “children”) reported within 6 months after SARS-CoV-2 serologic testing. Ciao Corona is a longitudinal cohort study investigating SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in 55 randomly selected schools in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland,5,6 which has a linguistically and ethnically diverse population of 1.5 million residents in urban and rural settings. Schools were selected randomly from the 12 cantonal districts, with number of schools proportional to population size. In Switzerland, children attended schools in person (with protective measures) in 2020-2021, except during a 6-week nationwide lockdown (March 16 to May 10, 2020).

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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.


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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.