Transmission of the new coronavirus from mothers to newborns is rare, doctors from New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center reported on in JAMA Pediatrics.
They studied 101 babies born to 100 mothers with COVID-19, including 10 whose mothers had been severely ill. Almost all of the babies tested negative for the virus, while tests in two newborns had indeterminate results.
If these two indeterminate results are considered positive, the overall incidence of transmission was 2.0%.
Even with a 2% transmission rate, “none of our babies exhibited clinical symptoms of COVID-19, either during their newborn nursery stay or during … the first few weeks of life,” coauthor Dr. Dani Dumitriu told Reuters Health by email.
Roughly 90% of the newborns were breastfed at least partially. “As the country heads into what looks like a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to know that separation of affected mothers from their newborns may not be warranted, and direct breastfeeding appears to be safe,” study coauthor Dr. Melissa Stockwell said.