Study shows that 134 pregnant women in Los Angeles County tested positive for coronavirus but none of their newborn babies did

By Dave Andrusko

As we’d previously discussed, the one bright note in the COVID-19 pandemic is a study published in Pediatrics of Chinese children which found that “90% of those who tested positive for the disease had mild symptoms, or none at all.” But what about newborns? Would children born to mothers who’d tested positive be themselves at risk of testing positive?

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that L.A. County officials addressed that very question. 

Colleen Shalby writes

In the county that has recorded more than 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 1,500 deaths, roughly 134 pregnant women have tested positive, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.

So, what are the results to date for those 134 women?

There have been 29 live births among those women, and one stillbirth. Twenty-four infants were tested at birth, including one set of twins, and none tested positive for the virus.

To re-emphasize, none—none of the 29 live births—tested positive for the virus.

“The virus has not been detected in amniotic fluid, breast milk or other ‘maternal samples.’”

As Shalby observes, “The results indicate that it is unlikely for a pregnant mother to pass the virus to her baby during pregnancy. A newborn, however, may be susceptible to person-to-person spread.” 

This was also the CDC’s conclusion in an April 15 post:

Mother-to-child transmission of coronavirus during pregnancy is unlikely, but after birth a newborn is susceptible to person-to-person spread.

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