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Coronavirus Town Hall: How vulnerable are pregnant women and newborns?

2 On Your Side looked to research and an infectious disease expert for answers.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Many people are asking how vulnerable newborn children and pregnant women are to COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

A small study in Wuhan, China, where the virus started, might be the beginning of researchers answering that question.  

Researchers looked at 33 newborns whose moms were positive for COVID-19.

Three of the babies tested also tested positive and experts think the source of the virus was their mothers due to strict measures that were in place during delivery.

The good news? All the babies' symptoms were mild, such as shortness of breath.

This study was small, and more research will have to be done.

However, far as mothers being vulnerable to infectious diseases, doctors are looking at how mothers have been impacted by other diseases, such as influenza, as a guide to their advice.

Dr. Thomas Russo, the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University at Buffalo, is an expert on infectious diseases, including treatment and prevention of these conditions. He had this to say about pregnant women:

"We do know that a small percentage of pregnant women in the third trimester can have more severe outcomes with certain diseases, most notably being influenza. This is why we advocate pregnant women to get the influenza vaccine each year," he said.

"So, even though at this point it looks like the virus hasn't had a huge impact on pregnant women, I still think it would be prudent for pregnant women to consider themselves as a vulnerable host and be very cautious in protecting themselves and maximizing the chances that they don't get infected until we get more information."

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