SERIOUS coronavirus cases in children are not on the rise despite claims that hospital wards are "full of young people", experts claim.
Children's wards across the country are not seeing "significant pressure" from Covid-19, according to a leading paediatrician.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Dr Damien Rowland, consultant and honorary associate professor in paediatric emergency medicine at The University of Leicester said whatever is happening with the virus in terms of new variants – it isn't making a difference to kids.
His comments come after experts last week claimed that shutting schools to stop the spread of coronavirus "wouldn't have a major impact".
Many schools across the country reopened today but primary schools in parts of London, Kent and Herefordshire will remain shut for pupils due to spiralling cases – except for vulnerable kids and children of key workers who can attend.
They will stay closed until at least January 18.
Professor Tim Spector said last week that while cases are likely to get worse in the coming weeks, school children aren't the problem.
Whatever is happening with the virus – it is not causing more severe illness directly in children
Dr Rowland today added that many people want the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic to be black and white, but he said it's not that simple.
He did however reassure parents that their children aren't at risk by being at school.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, he said: "The simple answer is that we are not sure about the new variant so far.
"What I can comprehensively tell you and to reassure the public and parents is that children’s admissions of children with Covid are not going up.
"We know this from our weekly figures from hospital data and the RCPCH (The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health) and others have spoken to paediatric intensive care units across the country and there is no change in severity of illness of children presenting to hospital.
"So whatever is happening with the virus – it is not causing more severe illness directly in children."
However, one London hospital matron told BBC Radio 5 Live that there were wards full of children who are suffering with coronavirus.
Laura Duffel said there is a "whole ward of children" as well as wards with healthy 20 to 30-year-olds.
One frontline doctor last week also said there had been an increase of "young and health patients", but added that this was mainly in people aged 40 to 50.
Dr Rowland said it is common for there to be a peak in hospital admissions in the winter months.
He highlighted that all admissions to hospital are given a coronavirus swab and said it's likely that the children in hospital were admitted with another illness – but have also tested positive for Covid-19 – rather than Covid being the only reason they were admitted.
He added: "We know from national data that there is not an unexpectedly huge spike in presentation and certainly not more severe disease."
Dr Rowland said prevalence among children is increasing – but that it's not yet clear what that means when it comes to transmission.
BACK TO SCHOOL
With the impact on children not yet clear,Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday urged parents to send kids back to school as he has “no doubt” they are safe.
But in a screeching U-turn, teaching unions have advised schools to stay shut, with parents now being told to keep kids at home.
Council leaders in Wolverhampton, Norfolk, Slough, Manchester, County Durham, Lancashire, Birmingham and Gateshead said they would support the decision of head teachers who do not think it is safe for the school to open.
And schools in places such as Surrey, Gloucestershire, Newcastle, Norfolk, Liverpool, County Durham, West Sussex, Sheffield, Wolverhampton, Leeds and Lancashire all sent last minute letters advising parents of closures.
Dr Rowland said that as the situation with the coronavirus develops, some "challenging decision would have to be made".
He said: "The royal college of paediatrics have always said that schools should be last to close and first to open and that we need some decisions that if schools were to close then for how long?
"How are we doing to support the disadvantaged? How can we make sure there is equal access to technology.
"We need to support teachers because they have done an incredible job over the last year", he added.
Prof Russell Viner, president of the RCPCH said that as cases of the virus increase there will be a small increase in the number of children with Covid-19.
He said that most children have "mild symptoms" and added: "The new variant appears to affect all ages and, as yet, we are not seeing any greater severity amongst children and young people."
Source: Read Full Article