COVID-19 mortality is rare among children, finds study

A health worker collecting a swab sample for COVID-19 test from a child who arrived at Kempegowda Bus Stand in Bengaluru on July 18, 2021.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Out of the 166 persons who died of COVID-19 during the week between August 16 and 22 in Karnataka, only two were children, aged 14 and 15. No child below the age of 10 died because of COVID-19 during the period.

These were the findings of a study on mortality patterns in the southern States of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, conducted by Jeevan Raksha, a public-private initiative involving Proxima, a management firm, and the Public Health Foundation of India.

The 14-year-old girl from Bengaluru Urban who died was a diabetic, and she passed away within 24 hours of admission to hospital, while the 15-year-old boy from Haveri district died less than 48 hours after his hospitalisation, the study said.

While no COVID-19 deaths of persons below 20 were reported from Tamil Nadu, two children — one under a year old and the other two years old — died in Kerala during the study period.

The study argued that lockdowns and movement restrictions can neither be afforded nor be an effective tool. Therefore, people need to “start cohabiting with COVID-19 and smartly protect lives and livelihood”, Jeevan Raksha said in a statement on Monday.

Though the study did not have data on the number of COVID-19 infections among children during the period, Jeevan Raksha argued that the mortality data of the three States validates the views expressed by some eminent epidemiologists that it is very rare for children and teenagers to get critically ill and succumb to COVID-19.

“Children cannot be caged in houses anymore. It will affect their holistic growth and impact their future professional and personal lives. Parents need to adapt to the current circumstances and support the school administrations to facilitate the normalisation process. Initially, there could be an inevitable influx of infections in a couple of schools, so parents need to manage these anxious phases fearlessly,” said Jeevan Raksha convener Mysore Sanjeev.

Meanwhile, the study pointed out that a total of 1,249 people succumbed to COVID-19 in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka during the week from August 16 to 22. Kerala accounted for as many as 893 deaths (or 71%), while Tamil Nadu and Karnataka accounted for 190 and 166 deaths, respectively.

While 6% of the mortality was among people in the age group of 21 to 40, 24% was in the 41 to 60 group. As much as 52% was from the 61 to 80 age group, and 15% in the age group of 81 to 90.



While one in every five COVID-19 deaths in Kerala was of a person aged 80 and above, in Karnataka one in every four deaths was of a person aged 50 and below. “There were no COVID-19 deaths in the age group of 1 to 20 in Tamil Nadu. One in every five deaths in Tamil Nadu was of a person in the age group of 51 to 60,” Mr. Sanjeev said.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 9:59:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/covid-19-mortality-is-rare-among-children-finds-study/article36192112.ece

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