The myth that children are risk-free from coronavirus infection is not correct
Although the rate of coronavirus infection among children was low during the peak in June-July, it is now going up.
Over the last 24 days, the number of Covid-19 positive kids in Dhaka Shishu Hospital has doubled over the same period last month.
At present, there are no vacancies in the 20-bed Covid-19 ward of the infirmary.
Experts fear the number of Covid-19 positive children along with pneumonia and diarrhoea will increase this winter.
According to Dhaka Shishu Hospital, a total of 577 indoor and outdoor children have been identified as Covid-19 positive in the hospital so far. Of these, 14 children have died. So far, 414 of 3,136 indoor children and 163 of 815 outdoor kids have tested positive.
Some 68 kids have been infected with coronavirus over the past 24 days of November. In October, the number of infections was 30.
According to the hospital source, in the first week of October, there were 10 children with coronavirus infection while the number was 18 in the first week of November.
In the second week of October, there were five Covid-positive kids, and in the second week, it stood at 23. In the third week of October, there were 6 positive cases and the number rose to 36 in the same period of November.
Kinkar Ghosh, epidemiologist at Dhaka Shishu Hospital, told The Business Standard that at the peak of coronavirus infection in the country, a maximum of 8 kids used to be identified as Covid-19 positive per day, but on 21 November, the number of positive cases was 25.
The myth that children are risk-free from coronavirus infection is not correct, he said.
The kids are also bearing the brunt of Covid, and many of them are dying, he said, adding that Covid-positive children are also experiencing a variety of complications during the post-Covid period.
In early September, eight-year-old boy Ayan Muktadir tested Covid-19 positive along with his mother. At that time, he did not have any symptoms. However, two and a half months later, he tested Covid-19 negative, he began to suffer from various complications including allergies and cold.
Ayan's mother told The Business Standard that her son is still suffering from cold, and his eyes turn red over and over again.
"We are considering post-Covid treatment for him," he said.
Most Covid-19 positive patients in the children's hospital are asymptomatic. Seventy-one percent of them are suffering from malnutrition, and 8 of the 14 kids who succumbed to the virus were found malnourished.
At the peak of coronavirus infection in the country, a maximum of 8 kids used to be identified as Covid-19 positive per day, but on 21 November, the number of positive cases was 25
Kinkar Ghosh said, while treating children infected with coronavirus, it was found that most of them were suffering from malnutrition.
Children need to be given nutritious food, he added.
The pediatrician suggested that family members should wash their hands and clothes before coming in contact with their kids who must be kept away from cold, because nowadays the children are getting infected with Covid after getting cold fever.
Among the Covid positive children at the hospital, 14% are from zero to 28 days old, 30% from 1 month to 1 year old, 28% from 1-5 years old, 19% from 5-10 years old and 9% from above 10 years old.
Dhaka Shishu Hospital Deputy Director Prabir Kumar Sarkar told TBS that the children are being infected with the coronavirus through their family members even though they are not going out.
To keep the children safe, family members should follow the rules of hygiene including wearing masks when going out, and take the kids to doctor as soon as the latter get sick, advised the doctor.
More than 1,500 children have so far received treatment at the Children's Corona Unit in Dhaka Medical College Hospital which opened on 14 May. Of these, 2.5% children died.
According to the Department of Health, 3% of children in the country have tested Covid-19 positive as of now.
So far, 31 children from zero to 10 years of age and 51 from 11 to 20 years have died which is 0.47% and 0.69% respectively.