KABUL (Pajhwok): Health experts deny reports in social media and some media outlets that the Omicron variant of coronavirus also affects children and their death toll is high, saying that the spread of the virus among minors is fast but with mild symptoms.
Health experts in the country also say that as the symptoms of the virus among children are mild, the death toll among them is also very low.
Claim: New variant of coronavirus, “Omicron” infects children more and their death toll is worrisome.
Alerting reports about infection of children under 18
Imna, an Iranian website published an article titled, ‘What side effects Omicron cause in children?’ which states that “Infection of children by coronavirus is mild, but researches show that the risk of infection of children by Omicron variant of the virus is very high, particularly unvaccinated children considering the virus’s rapid spread habitude.”
Tasnim News Agency also published an article titled “Statistics of deaths and children suffering from coronavirus in Markzai province are worrisome” and asked families to follow health guidelines.
Medical Council of the Islamic Republic of Iran in an article titled “Does Omicron cause death among children?” said that the Omicron variant also affects children and the death toll among them is very high.
A Facebook page named, (Senior Health Advisor), in an article titled ‘Children the new target of Omicron’ reads, “Head of Mufid Children’s Hospital: Runny nose, sore throat, headache, hoarseness, cough, fever, fatigue and shaking, sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting are among the symptoms of Omicron in children. Sometimes, there may be lung involvement, and in severe cases, shortness of breath and bruising of the lips.”
Another Facebook page named, (Manoto Television) in a post titled ‘Children under six years in high percentage of coronavirus hospitalization’ said “Deputy head of Qom Technical Hospital reported about high percentage of children under six years of age hospitalized in the hospital due to coronavirus infection, they are hospitalized in severe health condition. Qom is in red status of coronavirus since the last 10 days.”
Meanwhile, another Facebook page named “Amal Hamburg” in an article titled “Reducing the spread of coronavirus among Hamburg students!” said, “High number of infections of coronavirus among children and youths in the last weeks was worrisome, particularly for parents.”
What do health experts in Afghanistan think about infection of children under 18 by coronavirus?
NoorulhaqYousufzai, a pediatrician at a Kabul hospital, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the reports about infection of children by Omicron were true.
He said that in previous waves of the virus, children were less infected, but with more symptoms; but now they are infected by the Omicron variant in high numbers but with mild symptoms.
“In the previous wave when I was director of the Child Health Hospital, children were brought to the hospital in a very severe condition, and we registered three cases of child deaths,” he said.
He said that in many cases, infected children do not have even usual symptoms, but they are the best transmitters of coronavirus.
Yousufzai said that if infected children were not affected by other diseases, the virus would not cause death.
About the protection of children from coronavirus, he said that the way the coronavirus spreads is the same for children and adults, and that they should follow the same health guidelines.
Dr. WaliMirniBratzi, in charge of IPC at Afghan-Japanese Hospital, told said, “About four weeks ago, we received some 15 to 18-year-old patients who were diagnosed positive.”
However, he said there are still no tests kits in Afghanistan that can detect the Omicron type of the virus.
Meanwhile, JavidHajir, a spokesman for the Ministry of Public Health, said, “Comparing to Delta variant, Omicron variant of the virus also infected children of ages between five to 11 years.”
“According to statistics available with the Ministry of Public Health, since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, including Omicron, we have one percent of patients between the ages of five and nine years in children, but their death rate is zero.”
He said that Omicron variant of the virus behaved as a cold among children.
In developed societies, children are also vaccinated with “PediatricCovid 19”; but in Afghanistan and third world countries, the vaccine is available to people above 18 years of age, but not for children.
Verdict: New variant of coronavirus infects children more, but has a lower death rate and mild symptoms.