RIO DE AN ANEYRO. – The mother, suffering from the pain of her baby, which would not break, took the young girl, Leticia, to the hospital. The doctors had disturbing news. It was COVID-19.
But they were reassuring, noting that children almost never have serious symptoms, says Arian’s mother, Roque Marineiro.
Less than two weeks later, on February 27, Leticia died at the critical care unit of a hospital in Maringa, southern Brazil, after days of shortness of breath.
“It happened so fast, there was no other way,” said Marineiro, 33. – He was everything to me.
COVID-19 plunges Brazil into a troubling new wrinkle that experts are trying to understand seems to be killing infants and toddlers at an unusually high rate.
As of the start of the epidemic, 832 children under the age of 532 had died from the virus, according to the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Comparative data are scarce, as countries track the impact of the virus differently, but in the United States, which has a much larger population than Brazil, և the overall death toll from COVID-19 is 139 at the age of 4 4 more children.
And the official number of child deaths in Brazil is probably significantly underestimated, as the lack of comprehensive testing means that many cases go undiagnosed, says Dr. Fatima Marinho, an epidemiologist at the University of Sao Paulo.
Marinho, who leads a study of child deaths based on both suspected and confirmed cases, estimates that more than 2,200 children under the age of five have died since the outbreak began, including more than 1,600 newborns less than a year old.
“We have a huge impact on children,” Marinho said. “It is an absurdly high number. We have not seen it anywhere else in the world. “
Experts in Brazil, Europe and the United States agree that COVID-19 infant mortality rates are particularly high in Brazil.
“It simply came to our notice then. That’s a lot higher than what we see in the United States, “said Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice president of the infectious disease commission at the American Academy of Pediatrics in Anshush, Colorado. Medical University: “With any event here in the United States, those numbers are a little higher.”
There is no evidence of the effects of virus variants, which scientists say have led to more severe cases of COVID-19 in infants and children, which scientists say are more common in young, healthy adults, and the death toll in Brazil.
Experts say that this option leads to an increase in the mortality rate of pregnant women. Some women with COVID-19 give birth to stillborn or premature babies who are already infected with the virus, says Dr. Andre Ricardo Ribas Freitas, an epidemiologist at São Leopoldo Mandic College in Campinas, who led a recent study on the effects of the variant.
“We can already confirm that version P.1 is much more severe in pregnant women,” said Ribas Freitas. “And often, if a pregnant woman has a virus, the baby can survive or both can die.”
Experts note that adequate access to health care for children as soon as children become ill is likely to be a factor in deaths. In the United States and Europe, experts say early treatment is important for the recovery of children infected with the virus. In Brazil, doctors who were too long were often late in diagnosing infections in children, Marinho said.
“Children are not tested,” he said. “They are sent off, և only when those children return in really bad condition, COVID-19 is suspected.”
Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, director of critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital, says the mortality rate for children with COVID-19 remains very low, but children living in countries where medical care is unequal are at greater risk. :
“A child who may just need a little oxygen today may end up on a ventilator next week if he does not have the oxygen-steroid we give him at the beginning of the illness,” Shekerdemyan said. “So what could end up being my simple hospitalization could lead to a child in need of medical care that they just can’t get if there is a delay in accessing care.”
A study published in the January issue of the Children’s Infectious Diseases Journal found that in Brazil, four other Latin American countries, children developed more severe cases of COVID-19; With North American data.
Even before the outbreak, millions of Brazilians living in poor areas had limited access to basic health care. In recent months, the system has been overwhelmed as patients were overwhelmed by critical care units, resulting in a chronic shortage of beds.
“There are barriers to entry for many,” said Dr. Ana Luisa Pacheco, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Manaus Heitor Vieira Dourado Tropical Medicine Foundation. “For some children, it takes three or four hours by boat to get to the hospital.”
The cases of children have escalated amid a wider outbreak of infections in Brazil, which experts attribute to President Jair Bolsonaro’s response to the cavalry և կառավարության կառավարության կառավարության կառավարության կառավարության կառավարության կառավարության:::::::::::::::::::::: The backward economy has left millions without income or enough food, forcing many to risk getting infected by looking for work.
Some of the children who died from the virus already had health problems that made them more vulnerable. Still, Marinho estimates that they make up just over a quarter of all deaths in children under 10. This suggests that healthy children in Brazil are also at risk for the virus.
Her mother said Leticia Marineiro was one of those children. A healthy child who has just started walking has never been sick before, Marineiro said.
Marineiro, who fell ill with her 39-year-old husband Diego, believes Leticia could have survived if her illness had been cured more quickly.
“I think they did not believe he could be so sick, they did not believe it could happen to a child,” Marineiro said.
He recalled asking for more tests. Four days after the baby was hospitalized, he said, doctors had not yet fully examined Leticia’s lungs.
Marineiro is still unsure how his family got sick. He kept Leticia away from everyone at home, the first child the couple had longed for. Her husband, who supplied hair salon products, was careful to avoid contact with clients, although he continued to work to support the family financially.
For Marineiro, the sudden death of his daughter left a gap in his life. As the epidemic rages, she says she would like other parents to stop underestimating the dangers of the virus that Leticia took away from her. In his hometown, he watches families celebrate birthday parties for children, and officials urge schools to reopen.
“This virus is so inexplicable,” he said. “It’s like playing the lottery. And we never believe it will happen to us. It only works if it takes someone from your family. ”