Cases of COVID-19 in children are rising across the U.S., but Dr. Laura Sauvé of the B.C. Children’s Hospital says COVID-19 cases among children in this province have remained largely unchanged.
The increase in cases stateside is driven by the more infectious delta variant of COVID-19. In B.C., almost 100 per cent of new COVID-19 infections are the delta variant. However, Sauvé said that the proportion of COVID-19 cases for kids aged 19 and under has been relatively stable in the province at about 17 per cent, while hospitalizations have remained at about two per cent throughout the pandemic.
“Children get less sick from COVID-19 than adults – but, rarely, they can get quite sick,” she said. “And we still don’t know if the delta variant is more severe for children.”
Sauvé said the more severe impacts of the pandemic on children have been mental health, developmental and educational challenges.
“Across the country, we’re seeing increased rates of hospitalizations — very severe mental health presentations in children. We’re also hearing from family doctors and pediatricians that they’re seeing record numbers of children with different mental health concerns including anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder or other developmental impacts.”
To curb the spread of COVID-19 among children, Sauvé recommends following all public health measures, such as social distancing, hand washing, mask-wearing, staying home when you’re sick and above all: getting vaccinated. Adhering to those measures will also reduce the risk of contracting other respiratory viruses.
“We saw during earlier waves that the number of cases in children reflects how many cases we’re seeing in adults. So, if we can all use all of the layers of protection it will help protect children, even those who are too young to be vaccinated,” Suave said.
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