Covid-19: deaths and increase in hospitalizations among children, what we know


FOCUS – Last Friday, a newborn baby, whose post-mortem Covid-19 test was positive, died, while his mother was also a carrier of the virus. The number of hospitalized children has also recently exploded in Martinique and Nice.

An announcement as rare as it is tragic. On Sunday August 22, the Occitanie Regional Health Agency informed the Figaro than a newborn, “whose post-mortem Covid-19 test was positive“, Died in a maternity hospital in the region, confirming information from France 3. According to the regional antenna, the death was recorded on Friday, August 20”at birth“. Like the child, the young mother was a carrier of Covid-19, it was specified.

The ARS refuses to provide additional information, “with regard to the confidentiality of information in the individual medical file, and out of respect for the bereavement that affects these young parents and their relatives“. But it could be the seventh child under 10 to die of Covid-19 in France since the start of the crisis and the first statistical reports, in March 2020, from Public Health France. Did this infant really die from Covid-19? How to explain the increase in hospitalizations among children under 10 in recent weeks? Le Figaro make the point.

Uncertainty about cause of death

It is extremely delicate to know if the seven children concerned died of Covid-19. “We hardly have the assurance that it is indeed that“, Tempers Brigitte Virey, president of the National Union of French Pediatricians (SNPF). “If a child dies when he is positive for Covid-19 and has no comorbidity, we can say to ourselves that it is the virus. But if it has co-morbidities, it cannot be guaranteed 100%, even if it is surely an accelerator», Summarizes the pediatrician to the Figaro. To know precisely the reasons for the death, “you should have access to the fileShe adds. But in the case of the last baby, ARS Occitanie does not wish to bring “other detailsThan those already made public.

If the death of seven children under the age of ten in France since the start of the pandemic is a tragedy, some countries are paying a much higher price. This is particularly the case in Indonesia, where the virus has claimed more than 1,200 children, including about half of those under one year of age, according to data from the Ministry of Health and experts. “A question of socio-economic level, basic state of health and medical care», According to Brigitte Virey.

Increase in child hospitalizations

The subject is highly sensitive: until now, children seemed spared from severe cases and even hospitalizations. But in Martinique, doctors are facing an unprecedented epidemic wave, since 10 children are currently hospitalized, including one in intensive care. On August 21, the President of the Martinique Executive Council, Serge Letchimy, even urgently requested hospital reinforcements from Prime Minister Jean Castex, “as new forms of Covid infections emerge for infants and young mothers“.

In mainland France, the city of Nice has also recorded since the beginning of August an increase in hospitalizations for children under 10 years old: in mid-August, the city’s pediatric hospital received 10 infants under three months old. . In question: the Delta variant, now largely in the majority in our territory. “The Delta variant is extremely contagious, it affects many more people», Recalls Brigitte Virey. “And when it affects more people, mathematically, there can be more hospitalizations and severe cases“.

Fortunately, “in general, the evolution is good. But these are all the same important constraints for a newborn baby.», Reacted Prof. Philippe Babe, deputy head of pediatric emergencies at Lenval hospital, in Nice, to Nice morning , last August 12. “Most have a fever. And a ten-day-old baby with a fever, he doesn’t move anymore, he’s not well, so we have to keep him for four, five, six days in the hospitalHe added.

Increased risks of “prematurity

Interviewed by the La Première channel on August 20, Dr Olivier Fléchelles, head of the pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit at CHU Martinique, warned of the risk of “prematurity epidemic“. “Pregnant mothers have serious forms of Covid, that was known. On the other hand, what was not known is that they take such serious forms that we have to perform cesarean sections to save them, to take the child out to have a chance of survival.He testified. “Pregnant woman with Covid can give birth prematurely“, Confirms the pediatrician Brigitte Virey, who recalls that”every time a mother has a particular pathology, there is a risk of premature labor“.

Need for vaccination for pregnant women

Since July 20, vaccination for pregnant women is recommended in France from the first trimester of pregnancy. The data concerning the benefits and risks of vaccination for pregnant women and their babies are so far very reassuring. “Vaccination protects the child during pregnancy, but also at birth», Explains pediatrician Brigitte Virey.

Vaccination of pregnant women allows the transmission of antibodies to the child, who will be protected for a few weeks to a few months», Already specified in Figaro , in mid-August, Prof. Daniel Floret, pediatrician and vice-president of the technical committee on vaccinations of the Haute Autorité de Santé. Brigitte Virey nevertheless wants to be more moderate: “We know that if a mother is immunized against pertussis, she will protect her baby until he can get himself vaccinated. But for the anti-Covid vaccine, we do not have these certainties“.

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