The coronavirus may increasingly affect minors in the UK. Laura Duffel, head nurse at King’s College Hospital in London, told the BBC that more and more children and adolescents who were going through severe courses of the disease were being admitted to the clinic. It didn’t happen during the first wave, she said. You have to look after “an entire ward of children and adolescents with Covid-19”, she said. In addition, more and more 20 to 30-year-olds were admitted to her hospital who had severe symptoms even though they had no known previous illnesses.
Doctors denied that the virus is putting additional pressure on children’s wards across the country. Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “Children’s wards are usually busy during the winter. We are currently not seeing any significant pressure from Covid-19 in pediatrics across the UK. ”The overwhelming majority of children and adolescents currently have no symptoms or only a very mild illness. “The new variant seems to affect all age groups, and so far we have not seen any greater severity in children and young people.”
Ronny Cheung, a consultant pediatrician at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, added: “I was on call this week at a London children’s hospital. Covid-19 is widespread in hospitals but not among children – and this is confirmed by my colleagues across London. “
Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool, said that he had spoken to colleagues in the intensive care unit and “not one of them has seen an increase in sick children entering the intensive care unit, nor do we hear from them an increase in cases on the wards ”. On the PM broadcast on BBC Radio 4, he says: “We are not seeing any other spectrum of diseases in children, and certainly not an increase in cases.”
Liz Whittaker, a consultant pediatrician at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, also said that “only a small number” of children who test positive for Covid develop a serious illness and that it is currently “within expected levels”.
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Under the pressure of rapidly rising corona infection rates, including among children and young people, English schools have to completely change their planning for the new year. For the greater London area in particular, the Conservative Education Minister Gavin Williamson changes the guidelines almost daily.
In the metropolis, hospitals are battling a wave of Covid 19 patients, which has now exceeded the peak in April. The powerful NEW teachers’ union is already demanding the total closure of all state schools for at least two weeks. The government is inconsiderate towards the health of teachers and the entire school community, believes NEU boss Mary Bousted.
The news in the fight against Sars-CoV-2 sound increasingly desperate. “We have many more patients than in March and April,” reports Professor Marcel Levi, director of the huge University College clinic complex in central London.
Ambulances are also jammed in front of other hospitals in and around London because not enough beds are available. In the capital, the national health system NHS is on the verge of being overwhelmed by the onslaught of patients, experts have been warning for days.
Uneducated families suffer most from school closings
Based on the experiences of the London colleagues, the head of the RCP doctors’ association warns the rest of the country about the coming weeks. “We are all facing a new wave,” believes Professor Andrew Goddard.
Nationwide, the new infections in the week leading up to New Year’s Day averaged 45,559 per day, a third higher than in the previous week. Experts mainly blame the highly infectious B117 mutation of the coronavirus, which first appeared in September in the greater London area and in the southeastern adjacent county of Kent. According to previous knowledge, there is neither a risk of a more severe course nor a higher risk of death for the infected.
According to the health ministry’s count, the total number of those who died as a result of a corona infection was 74,125 by Friday; on average over the past week, 561 Covid-19 patients died every day. In the meantime, 1,089 per one million inhabitants have died with a Sars-CoV-2 infection; Across Europe, there were proportionally more deaths only in Belgium, Italy and Spain.
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The experienced head nurse of an intensive care unit just outside London draws a comparison with the first corona wave in spring: Even then, her ward was fully occupied with Covid 19 patients. “But there were far fewer cases of illness among the staff.” Why is that different this time? “Because schools were open before Christmas.”
In fact, the Conservative government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson has long made state schools a priority and put doubters under pressure with clear statistics: Children from low-income and educationally disadvantaged families suffer most from the closure of their educational institutions.
They often lack computers to take part in virtual lessons, parents can hardly help with homework, and language problems arise in immigrant families. In addition, it has long been a matter of dispute how much children and young people contribute to the spread of the pandemic.
In November, Minister Williamson even threatened the Labor-ruled London borough of Greenwich to keep primary schools open. Under the impression of the new wave of infections, the unhappy politician has to row back almost every week, and most recently within 48 hours.
On Wednesday, Williamson used the special Brexit session of the House of Commons to announce that secondary school students from the 7th grade would have to be content with online classes in January. The government wanted to keep a large number of primary schools open, including in ten of London’s 33 boroughs.
The criteria for why, for example, in the east of the capital, the Tower Hamlets district (weekly infection rate: 1041) should lock out its students, but the neighboring Hackney (810) should organize lessons as usual, remained opaque.
Outraged, the Labor leaders of badly affected administrative units such as Haringey (915) and Greenwich (819) asked why Tory districts with much fewer infected people such as Kensington (535) and Westminster (520) should close the school gates but keep them going. Williamson gave in on New Year’s Day: All schools will be closed on Monday.