Compared to other variants, the delta variant does not cause more severe covid-19 in children. This Friday (3), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the United States, released data that show that the arrival of the new form of the virus did not represent an increase in the number of serious cases among children.
The health agency collected information from patients admitted by covid-19 in 14 states across the country. Data from March to June 2021 and from June to the end of July, when the delta variant became dominant in the US, were compared.
Overall, the hospitalization rate for children and adolescents aged 0 to 17 years increased fivefold in this period. But the proportion of children and adolescents with severe conditions “was similar before and after the phase when delta was dominant,” the report says.
“Although we are seeing more cases in children and more cases overall, these studies have shown that there has been no increase in the severity of the disease in children,” Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told a news conference.
The survey also showed that the vaccine has worked to protect teenagers against the new variant. Hospitalization rates among the population aged 12 to 17 years were lower among those who had already been immunized. In the US, as well as in Brazil, teenagers over 12 years old can receive two doses of Pfizer.
“What is clear from these data is that vaccination coverage at the community level protects our children. As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases in the community, the number of children getting sick, needing to go to the emergency room and being admitted to the hospital hospital will also increase. We know what we need to do to protect our children: get vaccinated, wear masks and follow CDC guidelines,” Walensky said.
The delta variant and the children
Although the delta variant is more transmissible than the original virus, discovered in Wuhan, China, its behavior doesn’t seem to specifically affect the little ones, nor is it more lethal. “There is no indication so far that it is more lethal in any age group, including children. It demonstrated more transmissibility. And the more transmissible, the greater the number of cases, more hospitalizations and deaths, but there is no particularity of this variant with children and adolescents, nor in other groups with regard to its lethality”, says physician Marco Aurélio Palazzi Sáfadi, president of the Department of Infectology of the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics (SBP).
Pediatrician and neonatologist Dr. Nelson Douglas Ejzenbaum, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), points out that the delta variant is 75% more infective than the first variant, by Wuhan, but emphasizes that it has no prospect of greater severity or greater lethality, in addition to having good evolution, in general, in children. “It cannot be said that the variant affects children more. This is a misconception. What happens is that children, as they are not vaccinated, can contract all strains of covid, including the delta variant”, he explains.
That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s time to let your guard down. On the contrary. The care in combating this – and any other – variant should be, according to experts heard by CRESCER, the same as always: the reinforcement of hygiene measures, mask (which should be encouraged in children from 2 years of age), distance and , of course, agility in the vaccination. “The way of preventing the delta variant does not change, the same measures we have used so far are still valid”, explains infectologist and pediatrician Renato Kfouri, president of the Scientific Department of Immunizations at the SBP.
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