KABUL (Pajhwok): According to the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), nearly 5,000 people under the age of 19 years have been infected with Covid-19 since its outbreak in Afghanistan and 16 of the age group have lost their lives.
Based on MoPH data, nearly 1,600 new Covid-19 cases and 85 deaths were recorded in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, the highest single day figures.
However, a list on MoPH website shows that a total of 64,451 people are infected with Covid-19 countrywide, with 7,745 of them hospitalized and 2,334 others died since the virus outbreak.
The ministry terms the difference in figures announced and registered a technical problem. According to the list, 417 of infected persons are aged below nine years while 4,518 are aged between 10 to 19 years. The list shows that 33 of the infected persons were between newborns and 9 years of age, who were in critical condition and hospitalized, but no deaths reported in this group of age.
The ministry says 327 of the infected persons aged between 10 and 19 years were in critical condition and hospitalized with 16 deaths also registered in this group of age.
According to the source, 59 deaths were recorded among 15,439 people aged between 20 to 30 years. The list shows that 125 people died from among 14,076 infected people aged between 30 to 39 years while 270 died from among 10,805 infected people.
From 8,528 infected people whose ages are between 50 and 59 years, 506 people died while 696 people died from among 6,460 infected people aged 60 to 69 years.
The source said that 435 people died from among 3,031 infected aged 70 to 79, and 227 people died from 1,117 infected people who were above the age of 80.
Dr. Baaz Mohammad Shirzad, a former public health advisor in an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News said that he was unaware how much the MoPH data in its website was accurate.
He said that the data was questionable due to absence of surveillance in the public health ministry. He said that infection of 5,000 people under the age of 19 showed that the virus was mutated and it targeted people of all ages.
“New studies on the types of Covid-19 and World Health Organization (WHO) information show that people of all ages including children can be infected by the virus,” he said.
About high infections among youths, he said, “Youths are more infected because they go out for work but higher death rate among elders is due to their weak immune system that cannot battle this virus…”
Meanwhile, Dr. Nabil Paktin, associate professor of internal medicine, also said that Covid-19 could infect people of any ages, particularly people with elder ages. He said there were three main reasons the virus also infected children and youths recently.
“First reason is mutation of the virus, the second is false positive cases and the third is weak immunity of children and youths,” he said.
“However, the death toll is lower in children and youths, in old ages, the immunity gets weak and other diseases such as sugar, heart disease, kidney disease and etcetera also weaken a person… they cannot resist heavy cure and serious diseases,” Paktin added.
“In general, there are different causes such as poor nutrition, air pollution, wrong beliefs, late diagnosis, loss of trust in the health sector, not taking enough fluids, not observing hygiene, absence of a second strong sector equipped with medical services, incompetency of the government… that paves way for Covid-19 infection in different ages,” he said.
He said that currently all government hospitals, even Covid-19 specified hospitals, provided only primary services.
Meanwhile, Dr. HashmatullahFaizi, in charge of ICU in Afghan-Japan Hospital, said, “Unfortunately the Covid-19 test of a large number of children under 19 years of age is positive.” He said not only children were tested positive, but a number of them had to be hospitalized.
Faizi asked people to follow health guidelines and protect themselves and families from the deadly disease.
Ahmad Javed, a resident of Kabul’s KololaPushta neighborhood, told Pajhwok Afghan News that 20 days ago his wife was diagnosed with Covid-19 and both their four-year-old child and infant developed fever, nausea and diarrhea because his wife did not maintain social distance.
He added they later visited a doctor and both their kids were diagnosed with Covid-19 and they had to undergo treatment.
ShamsullahHoshmand, a resident of Kabul’s Khairkhana locality, told Pajhwok Afghan News that his five-year-old nephew was diagnosed with Corona Virus as earlier his mother and sister had been infected with the virus.
He added his nephew came to his mother and hugged and kissed her and later the child developed severe headaches, cold, sore throat and severe body pain and that the doctor informed that his nephew was infected with Covid-19.
The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) warned about increase in Covid-19 infections on May 29, 2021 and closed down educational centers in 16 provinces including Kabul for two weeks in order to contain the virus.
MoPH spokesman, GhulamDastagirNazari said Covid-19 positive and death cases are recorded in various age categories from the beginning of the spread of the virus.
He said the percentage of Covid-19 induced deaths among young people was rare, adding that there were similar figures worldwide but the death toll among the elderly and those with chronic diseases was very high.
Nazari added that the spread of the Covid-19 virus should be curbed in Afghanistan, warning that the positive cases have spiked but Afghanistan has not yet reached the peak of the third wave.
He said symptoms of Covid-19 varieties were the same and that people should follow health guidelines to prevent getting infected with the virus.
Covid-19 was first recorded in Wuhan city of the neighboring China and the first positive case in Afghanistan was recorded on February 24, 2020.
The second wave of the virus began in November 2020 and then the third wave began and is still ongoing.
The global infection tally has reached 176 million, with 160 million recovering and over 3.8 million losing lives to the infection.