Health

Many South African children infected with nCoV in the Omicron wave


South African doctors said on November 3 that the number of hospital admissions among young children increased suddenly after the Omicron strain swept across the country.

The country’s first outbreak was at a university. The virus has since spread to older people. To date, scientists and health officials have noticed an increasing number of children under the age of 5 being hospitalized. The positive rate in the 10 to 14 year old group is also higher.

Wassila Jassat, National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD), said: “The number of infections has increased quite sharply in all age groups, especially in children under 5 years old. The prevalence of the disease in this group is currently high. second, second only to people over 60 years old (who are vulnerable to the virus)”.

But experts also say it’s too early to say anything. They offer a number of possibilities leading to this condition. In South Africa, children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for vaccination. According to doctors, the group of children who tested positive for the virus mostly had unvaccinated parents.

According to studies, children are the group with no symptoms or only mild symptoms after nCoV infection. However, in the context of an outbreak of mutations, experts say that the increase in hospital admissions for young children may be due to parents being more cautious with Ocmicron.

“People send their children to the hospital as a precaution because if they are treated at home there can be problems, especially in very young children,” Ms. Jassat said.

South African children receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the town of Diepsloot near Johannesburg, October 2021. Photo: AP

Michelle Groome, head of the NICD’s public health division, said that in hotspot Johannesburg, the virus is spreading faster than at any point during the pandemic.

“Preliminary data suggest that Omicrons are more transmissible, with the ability to evade immunity,” Groome said.

As of November 3, South Africa recorded more than 11,500 positive cases, mainly in Gauteng, the country’s most populous province. This is five times more than a week earlier, when South African scientists first warned the world about the mutation.

South Africa has so far recorded nearly 3 million nCoV infections, of which nearly 90,000 people have died. The number of deaths in the past week was 124, the highest on December 2 with 44 cases. The country is treating more than 47,000 cases, of which 546 are in critical condition.

Thuc Linh (Follow AFP, Reuters)

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