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SWFL physicians association looks into children’s vulnerabilities to COVID-19

Doctors are looking into three different things right now regarding children and the coronavirus. It has to do with genetics, their immune systems and how their bodies deplete certain chemicals.

Tabitha Lopez, a mother of a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl describes the new reality. She says she is frightened.

“We all have parents and grandparents that we were already worried about,” Lopez said. “And then you hear about younger kids that are getting sick, and it hits a lot more close to home.”

Every day, more children and infants are reportedly contracting COVID-19.

“We don’t know exactly why that is and what is making these people more deposed to getting sick,” said Rebekah Bernard, the vice president of Collier County Medical Society.

The medical society is looking into three theories.

“We have these little proteins in our lung lining cells and our heart,” Bernard said. “And it seems like the virus gets into the lung and then binds with the protein. And that’s how it injects itself. So there are thoughts that maybe some people have a genetic reason why they are prone because of the way their body uses the protein.”

Another factor: The virus might cause certain cells to become less effective.

“It’s like a soapy substance and acts as a lubricant to help your lungs,” Bernard said. And, if you don’t have it, your lungs get stiff, and you can’t move air. Some people have a problem where their body is more rapidly depleting of the surfactant.”

Doctors say that kids are often more resilient to viruses and that from the evidence they have now they seem to be recovering quicker from the virus if they do get it.

They are also looking into how it is impacting children’s immune systems as well. With all this research there is still some better news. They are not expecting to see a huge spike in young kids getting the virus.

“Statistically speaking, we do know that it is more likely to be people that are older and maybe a few children,” Bernard said. “But we don’t expect it to be heavily weighted towards young people.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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