An inflammatory disorder suspected to be caused by the coronavirus has led to the deaths of children in the US, UK and France.
Authorities in several countries are sounding the alarm about an illness seemingly associated with the coronavirus that is appearing in children.
Doctors have compared the illness to Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disorder that results in fever and swollen lymph glands. Other signs of the illness include rashes, headaches, and fatigue.
While medical experts are stressing the condition is still very rare, scores of cases have been reported in the US, UK, and Europe.
These have resulted in at least one death in the UK and another in France, with several other fatalities suspected to have been caused by the disease. The US has reported three deaths from the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, the initial “hypotheses are that this syndrome may be related to COVID-19 based on initial laboratory testing.”
Scientists still need a lot of time to determine definite links between the disease appearing among children on both sides of the Atlantic, but panic is setting in among parents.
Low child fatality rates
Conventional thinking surrounding the coronavirus is that those who have yet to reach adolescence, face only a minimal risk of dying from Covid-19. Of the more than 316,000 victims of the virus so far, a very small number have been under 18.
Numbers remain hard to come by, but the limited data published by New York public health officials shows that just 0.06 percent of fatalities were between people of 0 and 17 years of age. Of those, six of nine recorded cases had pre-existing conditions.
The reports come amid debate in several countries over whether to resume school classes for children under 16.
In the UK, the government has announced a return date of 1st June for children in Early Years education, as well as another slightly older year group, but that decision remains the focus of intense debate.
The trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK, the British Medical Association (BMA), has backed teaching unions who argue that a resumption of school could pose a danger to both children and staff.
While children have lower rates of covid-19, they are still believed to be capable of spreading the disease.
“We cannot risk a second spike or take actions which would increase the spread of this virus, particularly as we see sustained rates of infection across the UK,” said the BMA’s Chaand Nagpaul.