Srinagar, June 19: Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Friday said more than 17 percent of Covid-19 positive cases in Kashmir valley are children.
“We have higher percentage of children with Covid infection than the global average,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“While children make up fewer than 2 percent of reported Covid-19 cases globally, in Kashmir valley 17.29 percent of Covid cases are in the age group of 0-19,” he said.
Dr Nisar said based on our analysis from the data of 989 lab confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, 171 cases (17.29 percent) were under 19 years of age.
“Majority of the children who tested positive for the novel virus had history of contact with adults,” he said.
“Most of the children with Covid infection had no symptoms or had mild disease,” he added.
Dr Nisar said no Covid infected child became seriously ill.
“However, today we had the first infant death in the valley due to Covid infection. A 15-day-old infant who had underlying serious heart ailment died due to the novel virus,” he said.
Dr Nisar said research shows that children are less susceptible to the virus than adults.
“School closure and a comparatively lower rate of testing for the novel virus among children could contribute to the low number of reported cases among the group,” he said.
“It is also possible that due to some quirk of biology, children are less susceptible than adults,” he added.
Dr Nisar said studies on whether children are also less likely to spread the infection to others have shown mixed results.
“A French study found that a nine year old child who attended three different schools while showing symptoms of Covid-19 didn’t infect anyone,” he said.
“But a German study concluded that children could be as infectious as adults,” Dr Nisar said.
“In view of mixed results, we should wait for more research results before reopening schools and easing social distancing for children,” he said.
“Most children find it difficult to follow social distancing norms and given the large number of students in one classroom and crowded transport, schools can easily turn into infection clusters if children infect teachers or take the infection to the family and neighbourhood, even if they don’t get severe disease themselves,” said Dr Nisar said.