Children under five are being admitted with COVID19 symptoms to the hospital, according to the Head of Intensive Care at Chris Hani Baragwanath, Rudo Mathivha.
She says the shift in demographics is very worrying. Mathivha said:
The number of ill patients presenting to hospitals has increased exponentially.
We are seeing definitely a change in the demographic profile of patients. We are seeing toddlers under five presenting with symptoms and they are sick enough to require admission and to require supplemental oxygen.
Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reported that in the United States of America, children represent about 16% of all COVID-19 cases.
While all children are capable of getting the virus that causes COVID-19, they don’t become sick as often as adults. Most children have mild symptoms or no symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), however, some children become severely ill with COVID-19 and might need to be hospitalised, treated in the intensive care unit or placed on a ventilator to help them breathe.
In addition, children with other health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes and asthma, might be at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19.
Children who have congenital heart disease, genetic conditions or conditions affecting the nervous system or metabolism also might be at higher risk of serious illness with COVID-19.
Meanwhile, many governments have been reluctant to inoculate children with COVID-19 vaccines prioritising the most vulnerable groups.