Experts investigate why COVID-19 is killing so many children in Brazil, including 500 babies
Covid-19 is ravaging Brazil and killing babies and small children at an unusually high rate
In most parts of the world, children rarely develop serious symptoms but according to a report in the New York Times, experts believe that Brazil’s overloaded hospital system and uneven access to health care are the reasons contributing to babies and small children succumbing to the virus.
832 children aged 5 and under have died of the virus, according to Brazil’s health ministry — a harrowing number. Compare this to the United States with its much bigger population (330 million to Brazil's 211 million) where 139 children aged 4 and under have sadly died.
Substantial undercounting in Brazil means that these figures are likely to be grossly underestimated.
According to Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, who is chief of critical care at Texas Children’s Hospital, a lack of decent primary care is a huge factor in the escalation of the disease in the very young. “A child that might just need a bit of oxygen today may end up on a ventilator next week if they don’t have access to the oxygen and the steroid that we give early in the disease process. So what might end up as a simple hospitalisation in my world can result in a child needing medical care they simply can’t get if there’s a delay in access to care.”