Omicron, the latest variant of COVID-19, has reportedly been the cause of hospitalisations among children under five years old, according to South African health officials.
“More than 100 children under four had been admitted to hospital in the fourth week of the new resurgence,” reports Daily Maverick after data indicated that the Omicron variant was a common denominator in the hospitalisations of this age group.
However, the South African Medical Association (SAMA) has put to rest the fears of the outbreak in children, saying that minors are brought to medical facilities for other reasons and once screened are found to have COVID-19, reports IOL.
“The children are being brought to hospital for something else, and not because of Omicron. Incidentally, they are positive as well. There is hype around children which should not be there. The children are not more sicker, more ill than the adult population”, Sama chairperson, Dr Angelique Coetzee told Independent Media.
According to MSN, Coetzee further added that it is unclear if the Omicron variant was spreading faster compared to previous variants like Delta, or if it causes severe illness like previous variants.
A South African doctor, who was one of the first to raise the alarm over the Omicron variant has described the COVID-19 symptoms linked to this new strain as “mild”, but it’s still too early to say for sure.
On Monday, December 6, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) recorded 6 381 new COVID-19 cases in South Africa.