Exposing young folks to COVID could really end up screwing them long-term. Aside from, what we hope to be, shorter-term symptoms of brain fog or other cognitive deficiencies lost confidence, and falling behind in their studies may severely hamper development.
The challenges facing young patients come as pediatric COVID-19 cases rise sharply, driven by the highly contagious delta variant and the fact that well under half of 12- to 17-year-olds are fully vaccinated and children under 12 are still ineligible for vaccines.
Doctors say even youths with mild or asymptomatic initial infections may experience long COVID: confounding, sometimes debilitating issues that disrupt their schooling, sleep, extracurricular activities and other aspects of life.
"The potential impact is huge," said Dr. Avindra Nath, chief of infections of the nervous system at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. "I mean, they're in their formative years. Once you start falling behind, it's very hard because the kids lose their own self-confidence too. It's a downward spiral."