SRINAGAR — Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Tuesday said children are least affected by the novel (new) Coronavirus that has so far killed at least 4,027 people and infected 114,458 worldwide.
“Kids are largely spared by the novel virus,” said DAK President Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan. “Very few children have been diagnosed with the new virus,” he said in a statement issued here.
Quoting a WHO report, Dr Nisar said children under 19 years comprise just 2.4 per cent of all reported cases of new Coronavirus. Of those, only 2.5 per cent experienced severe symptoms and a minuscule 0.2 per cent had a critical disease.
He said young kids under nine years of age make up only 0.9 per cent of confirmed cases. There has been no death reported in this age group.
“A paper published in New England Journal of Medicine analysed characteristics of 425 of the first people infected by the virus and found none were younger than 15 years of age,” Dr Nisar said. “Similar pattern was seen during outbreaks of SARS and MERS, which are other coronaviruses,” he added.
Dr Nisar said it is possible that due to some quirk of biology, children are less susceptible than adults to new coronavirus. “Kids tend to have a more active innate immune system that could explain their resilience,” he said, adding “Young children are especially exposed to other coronaviruses that might have given them at least partial immunity to the new one.”
“It appears that children aren’t getting the disease, or if they get it, they develop milder symptoms,” Dr Nisar said. “But, that doesn’t mean we lower our guard,” he cautioned.
“Parents should encourage little ones to wash their hands frequently and cover their cough and sneeze. They should also discourage kids from touching their eyes, nose and mouth,” advised Dr Nisar.
“From everything that we have seen, it does seem that the virus is primarily impacting adults,” he said.
“Based on data from 72,314 persons diagnosed with Coronavirus, 87 per cent of cases were between 30 and 79 years of age, about 80 per cent of people who died from the virus were over 60 years of age and 75 per cent had underlying medical conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic lung disease, hypertension or cancer,” said Dr Nisar.