News

Major rise in Covid among kids, pregnant women

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Health experts have pointed out that although there is a significant increase in Covid-19 infections among children and pregnant women with the spread of the Covid-19 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant, the risk of them developing serious complications and dying is very low.

Speaking to the media yesterday (31 January), Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children (LRH) Director Dr. G. Wijesuriya said that there are 20 to 25 children infected with Covid-19 being admitted to the hospital on a daily basis, but that none of them are in a critical condition.

“When considering the spread of Covid-19 among children, it is apparent to us that between 20 and 25 children are being admitted to the LRH with the Covid-19 infection, but that the majority of them are not in a critical condition.”

He further added that there was not much need for children with the Covid-19 infection to be treated in the intensive care units either.

“Most of those who are diagnosed with Covid-19 these days, including children, have the potential to be referred for home treatment,” said Dr. Wijesuriya.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media, Dr. Saman Kumara of the Castle Street Hospital for Women (Teaching) said that with the spread of the Omicron variant, the number of pregnant women admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 infections has increased, but that the risk of serious complications and death among them is low due to the Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr. Wijesuriya on 19 January told the media that the number of children admitted to the LRH with Covid-19 had increased during the past few days.

When queried about this, Health Ministry Communications Director, Public Health Services Deputy Director General, and Disaster Preparedness and Response Division Head Dr. Hemantha Herath recently told The Morning: “It was reported that the number of Covid-19-infected children in the LRH had increased, but it has not become a serious situation.”

He added that with the reopening of schools for all students, there is a risk that the incidence of the Covid-19 infection among children will increase. However, he added that this trend would not continue.

“It is a known fact that the prevalence of Covid-19 among children is increasing when schools are reopened. Taking that risk only were the schools reopened. Closing schools for a longer time is an injustice to children,” said Dr. Herath.

He further said that be it children or adults, the spread of Covid-19 can only be prevented or at least mitigated by strict adherence to the health guidelines. When considering the children, he said that a major responsibility lies with parents and teachers in directing them to follow the health guidelines.