How much are children at risk from the coronavirus? And: are they even? Parents had to and must grapple with such questions. Sometimes it is about very emotional conflicts – and about how much the parents should restrict their children in order to protect them from the virus.
300 hospitalized children – also as a precaution
Since the beginning of the pandemic, around 300 children between the ages of 0 and 9 have been hospitalized for a corona infection in Switzerland, and another 170 between the ages of 10 and 19. The numbers are given by Christoph Aebi, Chief Physician of the University Clinic for Pediatrics at the Inselspital Bern. and in the Swiss Pediatric Society in charge of dealing with the corona pandemic.
“Among the hospitalized children were many who were admitted to the hospital as a precaution,” he says. “The reason was that the clinical picture was new and the paediatricians were very careful, especially in the first but also in the second wave, and hospitalized children in dubio.” They would not have done the same with a virus they know well.
PIMS: Another reason for hospitalization
Another important reason for hospitalizations for corona was PIMS, the inflammatory syndrome that occurs in children several weeks after a corona infection. “In the USA there are figures that PIMS syndrome accounts for 1 in 3500 infections. This is the same or even less common in Switzerland, ”says Aebi.
Even with a fever, harmless corona courses in children
Acute corona infections that do not lead to hospitalization are harmless in children, this is still the current state of knowledge, even if there is a fever. This is also confirmed by Julia Bielicki, pediatrician at the University Hospital of both Basel, the UKBB: “You may have to lower your fever, you have to make sure that the child drinks enough. But in principle it is not to be expected that this will be more serious than a strong, feverish cold that parents know. “
We have looked after 1000 children with positive children and we do not see any difficult progress.
Her experiences in the hospital confirm the picture of the coronavirus, which can be dangerous for adults, but much less so for children: “We have looked after almost 1,000 children with positive children at the UKBB and we do not see any severe progress,” says Bielicki.
Julia Bielicki only saw a handful of adolescents during the second wave in the hospital at the UKBB who had processes like adults and intensive care care.
Severe courses in children are rare and can be influenced
A new study from England underlines this overall picture. The researchers evaluated how many children and adolescents up to 18 years of age died of or with corona in the first 12 months of the pandemic. There were 61, and only a third of them knew that they were dying from the virus: “Most of them actually had an acute infection, the vast majority of whom were children with previous illnesses.” So the mortality per infected child or adolescent is 5 per hundred thousand. Very low.
As it was now, I wouldn’t worry as a parent.
Christoph Aebi from Inselspital Bern emphasizes that it is important to distinguish two perspectives when looking at these numbers. On the one hand, there is the individual level of the parents. “As it stands now,” says Aebi, “I wouldn’t worry as a parent.” One can and should send healthy children and those with previous illnesses that are not critical to school without fear.
The number of severe courses depends directly on the total number of infections in the population.
On the other hand, viewed overall, severe courses and deaths among children and adolescents are rare, “but seen in absolute terms, there are 200 or 300 severe courses, which should not be neglected.” The number of severe courses depends directly on how many infections there are in total in the population. “If we can keep the virus under control, there will be very few such cases,” says Aebi.
It is a clear indication: the number of severe courses in children and adolescents can be influenced. If you want to keep their number low, you can achieve that with a little effort: continue vaccinating, continue series tests, where they use something, continue to distance, where it makes sense.