OBJECTIVES To describe the epidemiological and clinical characteristics and outcome of hospitalized children with COVID-19 during the initial phase of the pandemic .
METHODS This was a cross-sectional descriptive study conducted at the dedicated COVID-19 hospital of a tertiary care referral center in North India . Consecutive children aged 14 y or younger who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR from nasopharyngeal swab between 1 April 2020 and 15 July 2020 were included .
RESULTS Of 31 children with median (IQR) age of 33 (9-96) mo , 9 (29 %) were infants . About 74% (n = 23) had history of household contact . Comorbidities were noted in 6 (19 %) children . More than half (58 %) were asymptomatic . Of 13 symptomatic children, median (IQR) duration of symptoms was 2 (1-5.5) d. Fever (32 %) was most common followed by cough (19 %), rapid breathing (13 %), diarrhea (10 %) and vomiting (10 %). Severe [n = 4 , 13 %] and critical [n = 1 , 3 %] illnesses were noted more commonly in infants with comorbidities . Three (10 %) children required PICU admission and invasive ventilation; one died . Median (IQR) length of hospital stay was 15 (11-20) d. Follow up RT-PCR before discharge was performed in 17 children and the median (IQR) duration to RT-PCR negativity was 16 (12-19) d.
CONCLUSIONS In the early pandemic, most children with COVID-19 had a household contact and presented with asymptomatic or mild illness . Severe and critical illness were observed in young infants and those with comorbidities.