The number of children killed by COVID-19 doubled in just one month

Being the fifth month of the state of emergency, minors who were careful not to contract the virus have now become the most vulnerable. This happens because the majority of fatalities are now under the age of 5. There are more than 25,500 infections and 106 deaths, almost double what had been reported a month ago (54).

During the first months, the National Children’s Institute (INSN) of San Borja, a national reference center, received 2 to 3 patients a week. However, as of the fortnight of July, more cases began to present you. In the first week of August, it has increased by 40%, between positive and doubtful. “The panorama changed. We are no longer at the time when they were not vulnerable, asymptomatic, and developed mild symptoms. Now they arrive with criteria, even for admission to the ICU ”, states the UCI coordinator, Franklin Mendoza.

In August only 40 new patients have already been registered, that is, twice the normal amount. “That has alarmed. It hadn’t been seen before, ”Mendoza says. The main problem, in this case, he explains, is massive contagion. The relaxation of the quarantine that provided that minors could walk in the park for 1 hour got out of control. Minors have been seen passing through beaches and markets, where there is agglomeration. In just three weeks, the EsSalud already alerted an increase of 75% of cases.

Children have acquired an important role in its transmission. A study published on July 30 in JAMA Pediatrics stated that the viral load in the respiratory tract of children under 5 years of age with mild illness can be 10 to 100 times higher than that of other children and adults. From this, a hypothesis has been created that they wanted one of the main sources of contagion of the coronavirus in the population.

“What is suggested is that if they have the virus, even if they do not feel bad, talk or sing, there is a greater probability that they will spread more because they have a higher viral load. In adults, the amount of virus is associated with the most severe infection ”, explains the pediatrician and director of the Institute of Tropical Medicine of the Cayetano Heredia University, Theresa Ochoa.

It is specified that the reference of the study by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University was not intended to define the level of contagion, but the viral load that a minor may contain.

“The difference with adults is the severity of symptoms. The frequency of pneumonia is low, although it is seen in adolescents. Many children are asymptomatic or have a common cold ”, explains the author of this study and pediatric pulmonologist at INSN, Patricia Llaque.

On the other hand, an expert in epidemiology warns about the new pediatric multisystemic inflammatory syndrome, known by the name Kawasaki-like. This has occurred in children who have had Covid-19, no other disease. This disease causes inflammation in two or more organs such as the heart or lungs. In that case, hospitalization is necessary.

“Now we have previously healthy children who were infected by Covid-19 and by yet unknown mechanisms develop Kawasaki-like and predispose them to acquired heart failure. To date, they have already cared for 15 minors who returned weeks after “overcoming” the Covid-19. His symptoms were, above all, digestive: fever, nausea, abdominal pain. They are patients with ICU criteria, so we activated a multidisciplinary protocol ”, states Franklin Mendoza, from the INSN San Borja, who receives a new case of this type every two weeks.

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