Infants and children in the time of coronavirus

A mother and her newborn in a Wuhan, China, hospital on Feb. 21.
(Getty Images)

Public health officials in Illinois on Saturday announced the death of an infant in Chicago who had tested positive for the coronavirus. Although the exact cause of death had not been determined as of Tuesday, it marked the first recorded death in the U.S. of an infant who had contracted the virus.

The virus is more likely to be fatal in adults, but children who have tested positive for COVID-19 also have died. Underlying health conditions increase the risk of a severe illness. Experts say the older population remains at higher risk for COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Data have shown that the oldest of those infected are more likely to be hospitalized and less likely to survive the disease. To date, the pandemic has resulted in more than 3,000 deaths in the U.S.

The number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases around the world, as of Wednesday morning, has surpassed 880,000 globally and stands at about 190,000 in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University, meaning more people, including babies, have and will get the virus, experts say.

It’s hard enough being a new parent. But the coronavirus has thrown a curveball of anxiety to new mothers and fathers.


The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these common-sense tips for parents.

1. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer. Look for one that is 60% or higher alcohol-based.

2. Reduce close contact with others by practicing social distancing. This means staying home as much as possible and avoiding public places where close contact with others is likely.

3. Keep your kids away from others who are sick or keep them home if they are ill.

4. Teach kids to cough and sneeze into a tissue (make sure to throw it away after each use!) or to cough and sneeze into their arm or elbow, not their hands.

5. Clean and disinfect your home as usual using regular household cleaning sprays or wipes.

6. Wash stuffed animals or other plush toys following manufacturers’ instructions in the warmest water possible and dry them completely.

7. Avoid touching your face; teach your children to do the same.

8. Avoid travel to highly infected areas.

9. Follow local and state guidance on travel restrictions.

Under coronavirus threat, hospitals across L.A. County have tightened visitor policies in maternity wards.


A nurse examines a pregnant woman in a private obstetric hospital in Wuhan in February.
(Getty Images)
A woman and her newborn baby are transferred to a room by a nurse.
A woman and her newborn baby are transferred to a room by a nurse.
(Getty Images)
A nurse checks on a baby in the private hospital in Wuhan during the lockdown there.
(Getty Images)
A maternity nurse wears a mask as she cares for a newborn.
(Getty Images)
A nurse takes the temperature of a baby outside the main bus terminal in Bogota, Colombia, on March 24.
(Fernando Vergara / Associaed Press)
A baby wears a Hello Kitty face mask in Manila.
(Aaron Favila / Associated Press)
A woman with a baby runs from a truck spraying disinfectant in Venezuela.
A woman carrying a baby runs hurries to get out of the way of a truck spraying disinfectant in Caracas, Venezuela, in late March.
(Ariana Cubillos / Associated Press)
A mother prays with her baby at the Hsing Tian Kong temple  in Taipei, Taiwan.
(Paula Bronstein / Getty Images)
A woman leaves her children's school after finding it closed and registrations suspended due to the coronavirus last week in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
(Karim Sahib / AFP via Getty Images)
A woman and her baby were among migrants who flooded a bus terminal in Delhi, India, on Sunday, trying to find transportation home amid a lockdown.
(Manish rajput / LightRocket via Getty Images)