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The CDC report released Monday shows that fever, cough and shortness of breath were the most common symptoms in kids, echoing reports from China about how the new coronavirus affects children.
The report included nearly 150,000 laboratory-confirmed U.S. cases in adults and children from February to April. About 2,500 of them, or almost 2 percent, were children. Though most kids didn't become severely ill, three youngsters died.
About 1 in 5 infected children were hospitalized versus 1 in 3 adults. Cases were more common in older children and teens, but serious illness appeared to be more common in infants.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a few weeks. But for some, especially adults above 60 and people with existing health problems, it can cause life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia.
Confirmed U.S. cases top 356,000 with more than 10,500 reported deaths. Globally, there have been more than 1.3 million confirmed cases, and nearly 74,000 reported deaths.
The authors of the CDC report stressed that because people without symptoms, including children, are likely playing a role in transmitting the virus, "social distancing and everyday preventive measures" are recommended for all ages.
Dr. Larry Kociolek, an infectious disease specialist at Chicago’s Lurie Children's Hospital, said the report should reassure parents and health care workers that children are less likely than adults to get very sick from the new virus.
But Kociolek acknowledged the challenges that come with this finding, noting that "patients with milder illness are less likely to quarantine themselves and may be at similar risk of transmitting."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.