LAHORE: A large number of teens and minors in Punjab have contracted the British-variant coronavirus during the last three months.
An official data shows a total of 19,367 under-18 children have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak of the infections in Punjab so far.
Of them, 8,520 got infected during the first three months of the current year in the province, as per the report.
Similarly, out of the total children infected in Punjab, 8,390 are from Lahore.
Further segregation of the statistics unveils a worrisome situation in Lahore.
Three corona babies having comorbidities died at Children’s Hospital in March
It states that out of total 8,390 Covid-19 children in the city, 4,133 tested positive for the virus during the first three months of the current year and others in 2020.
Most children showed mild symptoms or had no symptoms at all but some kids got severely ill when they were shifted to hospitals.
The medical experts are of the view that the minor children and teens being shifted to hospitals with comorbidities might be at greater risk of severe illness.
They say the symptoms of Covid are similar in adults and children and can look like symptoms of other common illnesses such as fever, cough, flu or allergies.
According to the official data, March 2021 remained troublesome as the virus infected 2,357 children in Lahore and the number was only seven [the same month of last year]. In February this year, 739 and in January 1,037 children contracted Covid.
As far as Punjab is concerned, figures show a record 4,830 under-18 children were declared Covid patients in March this year and the number was 75 in the corresponding period of last year.
This number is the highest since the infection hit the province in March last year.
In February and January this year, 1,669 and 2,021 children tested positive for the virus, respectively in Punjab and the collective number of these two months was less than that reported in March.
In June last year, when the virus was at its peak, total (second highest number) 2,875 under-18 children had tested positive.
Meanwhile, 46 more patients died of the virus during the last 24 hours in Punjab, taking the death toll to 6,363.
Similarly, the total number of infections reached 220,392 in the province after 2,698 more people tested positive during the same period.
Of the total new positive cases, 1,627 were reported from Lahore which was reporting the highest positivity rate during the last three months or so.
Lahore Children’s Hospital Dean Prof Masood Sadiq confirmed the death of three Covid-positive babies in March.
He, however, said the cause of deaths was comorbidities. He said a total of 46 minor children were admitted to the health facility during the month.
He said currently 17 babies testing positive were under treatment at the facility while others have been discharged.
The three-month-old baby with complex congenital heart disease (incomplete heart formation), was shifted to the Children Hospital. On developing pneumonia, the tests reports confirmed the baby positive for the virus. He was later shifted to Covid unit from cardiac surgery ICU but stayed less than a day on a ventilator and died.
Similarly, a four-month-old baby was shifted from a private hospital for ventilator support and had Pyo-meningitis (brain infection along with blood infection- sepsis). He was put on ventilator support in MICU. The PCR test later showed him Covid-positive. He was shifted to Covid unit and died in less than 24 hours.
The 11-day-old baby was shifted to hospital with a very critical heart defect called coarctation of the aorta with pulmonary hypertension and poor heart function.
The cardiac surgery was planned and an emergency PCR done. PCR turned out to be positive and he was shifted from the NICU to Covid unit on a ventilator. However, he died within a few hours before cardiac surgery could be performed.
Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2021