COVID-19 child mortality rate is less: WHO

Muscat: Even as Oman reported the first death of a teenager, a 15-year-old boy, last week, apparently from COVID-19, the rate of Children’s fatality globally from the disease is lower than the adults and elderly.

Children are vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and subsequent casualty, but the rate is thankfully low in comparison to adults and elderly, according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO).

In a virtual press conference convened by the UNESCO and UNICEF, and attended by the Oman Observer Daily, WHO Secretary-General said the impact of COVID-19 among children and adolescents is subject to research and further studies.

“We know that this virus can kill children, but that children tend to have a milder infection and there are very few severe cases and deaths from COVID-19 among children and adolescents.”

He further said that the data shows that less than 10 per cent of infection cases and less than 0.2 per cent of deaths are reported among people under the age of 20 as we are 9 months into the Coronavirus pandemic.

“However, more research is needed about the factors that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death among children and adolescents.”

The press conference was also attended by Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General and Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director.

In many countries, essential services for nutrition and immunisation have been disrupted, and millions of children have missed out on months of schooling.

SCHOOLS CAN BENEFIT FROM COMMUNITY MEASURES:

The participants observed that keeping children safe and at school is not a job for schools alone or governments alone or families alone. It’s a job for all of us, working together.

“However,” he said, “Schools are part of a community. Schools connect communities and the measures taken in a community to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission will reduce the risk in schools as well.”

With the right combination of measures, schools and parents will be able to keep our kids safe and teach them that health and education are two of the most precious commodities in life.

During school closures, continuity of education should be guaranteed through distance learning.

The time during which schools are closed should be used to put in place measures to prevent and respond to the transmission when schools reopen.