Initial statistics from 20 Israeli hospitals show that even though Israel has a relatively high number of children infected with coronavirus, only a few of them require hospitalization or end up in serious condition, Israel Hayom reported.
The statistics, collected by the Israeli Group for Infectious Diseases in Children and presented at a conference held by the Clalit health fund, showed that as of the beginning of August, 22,163 children had been diagnosed with coronavirus in Israel, representing just 0.7% of the country's coronavirus patients.
Of those, 175 (0.5%) children were hospitalized, and just nine (0.05%) of pediatric coronavirus patients were in moderate or serious condition. The median age of hospitalization was eight years of age, and 31% were under the age of one year. Researchers also noted that most of the children hospitalized were hospitalized to allow for better quarantine or for social reasons, and not necessarily because of the condition of their health.
Thirty-five (20%) of pediatric coronavirus patients had pre-existing conditions, and of those, seven (20%) suffered a chronic lung disease.
Though globally boys seem to be more at risk of contracting coronavirus than girls, in Israel, 57% of children hospitalized with coronavirus were girls, and just 43% were boys. In addition, 39% of the hospitalized children were haredi, 25% were Muslim, and 36% were from the rest of the population.
"The number of haredi and Muslim children among those hospitalized with coronavirus is higher than their representation in the population," researchers Professor Shalom Ben Shimol and Dr. Michal Stein.
Five of the children (3%) suffered another serious infection at the same time as they had coronavirus, and three of them (2%) suffered a heart infection. Two of the children (1%) required ventilation and three of them (2%) required hospitalization in the intensive care unit. However, all of the children recovered.
The main symptoms of of coronavirus in children are fever (62%), cough (29%), shortness of breath (18%), and a runny nose (15%). However, 13% of those hospitalized were asymptomatic. Loss of taste and smell was relatively rare in the hospitalized children (2%), and 4% suffered stomach pains.
Currently, children make up 29% of coronavirus patients in Israel, while in the first wave, children represented just 21% of the total. In comparison, children only represent 7% of US coronavirus patients.
"Most of the coronavirus cases in children were very mild or asymptomatic, and the number of significant cases is minor" said Dr. Stein, who serves as director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center and chairs the Israeli Group for Infectious Diseases in Children.
She added that she suggests allowing children to return to school, but with physical distance between the children and while ensuring that they wear masks both in and out of class. She also urged the use of the "capsule" method to reduce infection rates.