New research published on Monday shows that most children and adolescents in Canada were protected from the most serious health consequences of COVID-19 in the earlier stages of the pandemic. But health experts worry that the delta variant’s increased transmittance could expose more vulnerable youth to the virus and lead to more severe cases.
The study, released after millions of illiterate children returned to school, sports and social activities, found that there were fewer pediatric hospitalizations associated with COVID-19 from March to December, 2020.
According to the study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, nearly 44 percent of children who were in hospital with COVID-19 were admitted for reasons unrelated to the coronavirus. For example, some cases were detected through routine testing prior to the planned procedure.
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Children and adolescents who were hospitalized for severe illness associated with COVID-19 often had health problems, such as obesity and chronic neurologic or lung conditions in addition to asthma.
Charlotte Moore Hepburn, a pediatrician at Sick Children’s Hospital of Toronto and one of the new study’s principal investigators, said only a small number of children without existing health conditions developed serious illness as a result of COVID-19.
He said that with the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus now accounting for the majority of cases in Canada, and no vaccine yet available for children under the age of 12, more needs to be done to protect young people from the virus. is needed, she said.
“Everyone, regardless of underlying health conditions, should do everything they can to protect themselves and their community,” she said.
A report published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month found that the delta version did not significantly change the overall rate of children and adolescents becoming critically ill as a result of COVID-19. But research is ongoing to determine whether the variant affects certain age groups more.
But the fact that the delta variant spreads so easily means that a large number of young people will be infected, with a small subset experiencing severe disease. People 19 and younger account for about 20 percent of all COVID-19 cases in Canada, and they account for about two percent of all virus-related hospitalizations, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“Where we see a lot of COVID transmission, we’re going to see a lot of cases [in children]Laura Sauve, infectious disease specialist at BC Children’s Hospital, said. “It’s possible that in places where there’s a lot of COVID spreading right now, there will be some more serious cases.”
weeks into the school year, experts say it is imperative for adults to do whatever is necessary to keep transmission rates low, not only to protect children from the virus, but also to encourage them to engage in individual learning and other social activities. allow to benefit from.
Dr. Sauve said, “The biggest way to protect children is to get everyone around us vaccinated.”
No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children under 12 years of age. Last week, Pfizer-BioNTech reported positive results from a trial in five to 11-year-olds, suggesting that approval of a vaccine for that age group may be something. week away. But even then, it will take time to conduct vaccination campaigns and get good coverage rates among that age group.
With more students meeting face-to-face, Dr. Sauve also highlighted the fact that even common respiratory viruses can pose challenges this year.
“We’re certainly looking for other respiratory viruses as well, not just COVID,” she said.
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