Researchers urge calm despite noticing increase in infants infected with Covid’s most contagious variant
Data released on Friday by the UK’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies has warned that the percentage of children under one year in hospital with Covid has risen from 30% to 42% following the outbreak of the Omicron strain.
A study by the Coronavirus Clinical Characterization Consortium and the Covid-19 Clinical Information Network showed that compared to previous waves of the pandemic, there has recently been a sharp increase in the proportion of infants in need of hospital treatment.
One suggested reason is that older children have become eligible and are starting to be vaccinated, while babies are still not eligible for jab. However, it was considered unlikely as there has also been an increase in admissions among the older cohort. Another explanation put forward by the researchers is that younger children have smaller upper respiratory tract and that Omicron therefore affects them more severely.
Despite the increase in cases, Calum Semple, professor of pediatric health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool’s Age Hey Children’s Hospital, has urged the public to remain calm, as infants typically experience only very mild symptoms.
“I would really like to emphasize here that it is not very sick infants. In fact, they come for short periods of time for investigations, “ Semple told British media.
Dr. Camilla Kingdon, president of the UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, confirmed this view and stated that doctors are not “picks up any signals that are too worrying.”
Most infants are thought to simply suffer from fever and cough after being infected with Covid, she added.
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