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Morning Brief: Long COVID In Kids, Whistleblower Lawsuit, And The Valley

Lucas sits in a chair in his high school looking at the camera while wearing a mask.
Lucas Garcia spent three months recovering from long COVID before he could return to high school.
Photo courtesy of Robert Garcia )
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Good morning, L.A. It’s April 26.

By this point, most of us are likely familiar with the common symptoms of COVID-19: dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing in more severe cases. What’s less known, though, are the symptoms of long COVID — and some young people are learning about them the hard way. 

My colleague Jackie Fortiér, who has been reporting on the pandemic since its onset in 2020, writes that more than half a million children in L.A. County have tested positive for the virus so far, and an estimated 10% to 20% of that group will likely develop long COVID. 

One major difference between long COVID in adults and in children is that young people often don’t develop symptoms upon their initial infection. So if long COVID does strike, it’s not top of mind for pediatricians.

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It may seem, then, that they “have symptoms for which there is no clear cause,” said Dr. Sindhu Mohandas, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Those symptoms can include being tired and unable to concentrate at school or keep up physically while playing sports.

“Sometimes it involves several visits to their pediatrician trying to figure out what’s going on before people start thinking about linking it to COVID,” said Mohandas.

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Children’s Hospital is one of few facilities with a clinical program dedicated to long COVID recovery care. And while much still remains to be learned about the virus when it lingers, Mohandas said that it does typically resolve, even if it takes a while.

“These are long symptoms,” she said. “For adults, it's months and sometimes more than a year to resolve symptoms. Children tend to do better.”

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... This Week's Event Pick: 'I Heart The Valley'

An aerial shot of the San Fernando Valley on a postcard.
The LA Phil's Gen X Festival continues with a multimedia panel discussion, 'I Heart the Valley,' at The Ford.
(Courtesy of the LA Phil)
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The L.A. Phil’s Gen X Festival continues with a multimedia panel discussion of the San Fernando Valley at The Ford. As portrayed in Gen X classics like The Karate Kid, Valley Girl, and Encino Man, the Valley’s racially and economically diverse population were often overlooked. Wynter Mitchell-Rohrbaugh, host and curator, and Karen Tongson, curator, discuss the real life legacies of the Valley with guests.

Not in a Valley state of mind? You could: Watch Hadestown on stage. Hear from Nikole Hannah-Jones about her work, including the 1619 Project. Laugh along with the staggeringly fantastic lineup of the Netflix Is A Joke Festival. And more.

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