Pediatric asthma, viral trends and public health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic
Samir Sayeda*, Kiara Taquechela*, Avantika R. Diwadkarb*, Jesse W. Dudleyc, Robert W. Grundmeierc,d, Chén C. Kenyond,e, David A. Hilla,d,f,‡, Blanca E. Himesb,‡ and Sarah E. Henricksona,d,f,‡
a Division of Allergy and Immunology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
b Department of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Informatics, Perelman School of
Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
c Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
d Department of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
e Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness and PolicyLab, Children’s Hospital of
Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
f Institute for Immunology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
‡ These authors contributed equally to this work.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused dramatic changes in daily routines in the United States that might have influenced viral transmission patterns during this time. In the Philadelphia area, March 17th, 2020 marked the date on which public health measures were enacted to reduce transmission of COVID-19. Asthma-related encounters and respiratory viral testing data were extracted from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) electronic health records for the last five years between mid-January to mid-May (2015 to 2020) in order to assess the impact of those measures. Changes in viral testing patterns, patient encounter details and air pollution before and after March 17th were assessed and compared with data from 2015 to 2019 as a historical reference. We found decreased asthma-related systemic steroid prescriptions and decreased frequency of positive rhinovirus test results but air pollution levels did not substantially change compared with historical trends. We are now collecting Fall 2020 data to further our understanding on the effects COVID-19 has had on the presentation of pediatric asthma.