Covid-19: Children are significantly less vulnerable


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Status: 15/02/2022 10:51

The issue of the risk of Covid in children is causing heated debate. CDU politician Prien has been heavily criticized for pointing out that few children die of Covid-19. The data show she’s right.

By Patrick Gensing, ARD fact finder editors

After harsh criticism, the chairman of the Minister of Education Conference (KMK), Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister of Education Karin Prien, has deactivated his Twitter account. “I’m taking a few weeks to think about whether and how I will continue to use Twitter as a communication medium,” the CDU politician explained.

A tweet from the KMK president had previously given rise to serious criticism. For example, one user wrote: “We have had 17 dead children within the last 4 weeks. 17 – in FOUR weeks. And it’s going faster and faster. On October 21, we had 27 dead children since October 38. So more 4.5 months than 18 months. A total of 65 children have died. ” To which Prien replied, “Please distinguish: Children die. It is extremely tragic. But they die with COVID_19 and only extremely rarely because of COVID_19.” Prien’s response was followed by numerous – at times insulting – reactions.

A total of 47 deaths among under 20s

The number of deaths among children and young people is closely monitored. RKI wrote in its latest weekly report:

The deaths among those under the age of 20 are controlled and validated individually by RKI, so that there may still be changes in the number of deaths in this age group in the published data. So far, 47 validated COVID-19 deaths in children and adolescents between the ages of 0 and 19 have been reported to RKI. In 32 cases, information on known previous diseases was available.

According to RKI, fewer than four deaths were recorded for male and female children under the age of 20 in the first three weeks of the new year. The term “less than four” is used for data protection purposes, it can mean one, two or three cases. In the RKI report, one death was given among five to 17-year-olds for reporting week two to five.

The aforementioned claim by a Twitter user that there had been “17 dead children” in the past four weeks is based on a calculation with unaudited figures that RKI had published at various times. In the corresponding statistics, however, the institute specifically points out that the respective information may still change, as all reported deaths among those under 20 years of age are checked. The confirmed figures are given with delay in the reporting in the weekly report. *

Many patients with Corona in the hospital

Children and young people continue to be affected significantly more severely by serious events than all other age groups. Many of the registered corona patients are also not hospitalized due to Covid-19. Inquiries to clinics showed that up to half of the people registered as corona patients are not in the hospital because of Covid-19, but the positive test result is a secondary diagnosis. The ambiguity in the number of hospitals has increased due to the high incidence.

In the pediatric clinics at Schleswig-Holstein University Hospital, for example, one can currently see “more children With as because Covid-19 in inpatient treatment, “said a spokesman. The number of children being treated for Covid-19 – not those who were accidentally tested positive – fluctuates between zero and five a week.” We only had a few really critical courses , “the spokesman said. But some children and adolescents with other pre-existing diseases from Covid 19 infections were” very severely affected and required intensive treatment “. Cases of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome PIMS also occurred, the spokesman said:” These are a very serious weight gain. . “

“easy climb”

Chief physician Dr. Johannes Ehler from the Interdisciplinary Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Rostock University Medicine said: “During the Covid pandemic, there was a slight increase in sick and hospitalized children with the delta and omicron variants. than in 2020. In our clinic, these cases were associated with a good treatment outcome, although some rehabilitation measures were necessary after the inpatient treatment. “

However, the PIMS syndrome is relevant: “In the last few months, this syndrome has been observed more frequently in our clinic than in the last two years and required intensive medical treatment of the pediatric patients. But here good treatment results have been achieved. No death.”

Prof. Dr. Jun Oh, deputy director of the clinic and outpatient clinic for pediatric and adolescent medicine at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), announced that the number of children and adolescents with Covid-19 who were to be treated as hospitalized in children’s UKE “remained very low”. The number of children suffering from Covid-19 has stabilized in the last two weeks and is not increasing at the moment. Young children are sometimes admitted for observation for 24 to 48 hours.

“No sign of a more serious course so far”

The German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI) and the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) collect data from pediatric clinics nationwide – and also come to the conclusion that many of the admissions registered as corona cases are not due to Covid-19 diseases occur. In the period January 24 to February 13, 2022, more than a third of admissions were recorded due to other illness, although these are officially counted as corona cases. These data are based on reports from more than 80 clinics and are updated regularly.

PD Dr. Henriette Rudolph, a specialist in pediatric and adolescent medicine at the University Hospital of Frankfurt am Main and Vice-Chair of the DGPI, said, It is emphasized that we still need to get a more accurate picture. “” Children with risk diseases who could certainly go through a more serious course “are still excluded.

Prof. Dr. Jun Oh from UKE believes that the risk for children and adolescents to get Covid-19 is significantly lower than for adults: “The risk that an infection with the omicron variant will lead to a serious course of the disease is less than in the case of adults a infection with the delta variant. However, serious conditions can also occur in children and adolescents. ”

“Danger level has dropped further”

Dr. Jakob Maske, spokesman for the Pediatricians’ Professional Association (BVKJ), explained at the request of tagesschau.de, After two years of the pandemic, there were about 41 deaths among those under 18 – compared to about 120,000 adults who died in Germany. There are about 688 children with PIMS, almost all of whom have recovered, and there are an uncertain number of long-term Covid cases that, depending on the study, are in the low single-digit percentage range and usually no longer than four weeks, Maske said.

With the Omikron variant in particular, “the level of risk for children and young people has fallen even more,” Maske emphasizes. “Fortunately, really serious courses are rare. For children and adolescents – but not for adults – coronary heart disease can be considered almost similar to other upper respiratory tract infections.”

Karen Matiszick, spokeswoman for Gesundheit Nord GmbH in Bremen, said: “The risk for children and young people of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 is still low – perhaps even lower at Omikron. Whether the number of PIMS patients will increase can not be determined “predicted, but we expect it to happen over the next few weeks due to the more frequent occurrences of the virus infection. We can not assess the ‘Long-Covid’ phenomenon well because we have only made this diagnosis sporadically.”

* Editor’s note: Here is added the information on how the number of 17 has arisen and that this is a calculation with unconfirmed numbers.

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