With the lifting of restrictions, including the wearing of masks indoors, children appear to be more affected by the rebound in Covid-19 pollution. Is the Omicron sub variant, BA-2, more dangerous and virulent in children? We are evaluating.
Since the beginning of 2022, the BA.2 sub-variable has been circulated “mainly” in France, making up “84 % of new infectionsAccording to Public Health France. We are now talking about an epidemic resumption of the virus, with nearly 127,000 new cases of Covid-19 recorded daily in France.
More contagious and more dangerous subvariable for children?
Infection numbers and cases of Beams have been on the rise in recent weeks. The Ministry of Education stated in its weekly update published on Friday, March 25 that “81,424 students tested positive for Covid-19 in seven days. At the end of the week, 3,080 classes were closed in France due to the spread of the virus..
Meanwhile, the infection rate in the 0-19 age group is currently 1,292 cases per 100,000 population compared to more than 500 cases last month. And for public health in France, “With the gradual replacement of the delta variant by the Omicron variant, there has been a very marked increase in the number of cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (Pims) since the beginning of December 2021.“.
The end of the obligation to wear the mask indoors in question?
An increase in cases raises questions and could explain the resurgence of PIMS cases, as Antoine Flahaut, an epidemiologist and director of the Geneva Institute for Global Health in Switzerland, pointed out to our colleagues from TF1 Info: “Using a mask, a person develops a much lower viral load than if everyone took it off. However, the higher the viral load by the patient, the higher the risk of developing complications..
However, because of this waiver of the obligation, “It is very difficult to determine whether the variant is somewhat malignant and transmissible in children. We may realize that lifting measures leads to more serious and frequent forms, not necessarily associated with increased virulence of the virus. The specialist adds.
What are the symptoms of BA.2?
Variant BA.2 does not present any specific symptoms. It belongs to the strain of the Omicron variant that has respiratory symptoms affecting the upper airways and reduced loss of taste and smell, with lower severity, estimates the National Health Agency.
As a reminder, the symptoms of Omicron and therefore of BA.2 can be:
- great fatigue
- fever ;
- Muscle aches or body aches.
- Sore throat;
- Runny nose;
- Vomiting and nausea;
- Rarely, disturbed breathing and loss of taste and smell.
Santé Publique France explains it in France “The screening strategy makes it possible to detect all Omicrons without discrimination, whether they are BA.1 or BA.2 and thus know the level of circulation of the variable in an interactive way.” The sequence is then used to distinguish the two sub-variables from each other.
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How effective are vaccines for this alternative?
“Vaccine efficacy against Omicron is maintained after the administration of a booster dose, especially against severe formsAccording to Public Health France. For children, the problem will come from ‘low vaccination coverage’ for children by Pr Flahault:France has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Europe among eligible young people.” He laments. In fact, according to the latest figures from Public Health France, only “9.4% of children aged 10-11 years received the first dose of the vaccine and 3.2% of those aged 5-9 years“.
A situation that, he says, could be dangerous for children with comorbidities who are not adequately vaccinated. Finally, remember that there are currently 491 patients between the ages of 0-19 in hospital after contracting the virus.