The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday, July 12, bared that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections are high among children below two years old.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire explained that children with ages zero to 19 years old are considered as part of the pediatrics group.
“Ang matataas na bilang ng mga nagkakaroon ay less than two years old (A high number of those who were infected belong to those less than two years old),” Vergeire said in a virtual press briefing.
“As the age increases, pagdating ng mga 15 years old hanggang 19 years old, doon pa rin nakikita natin na mas mataas kumpara sa ibang mga age groups (when it comes to those 15 years old to 19 years old, we still see that it is higher compared to other age groups),” she added.
The health official assumed that this may be because kids below two years old are being closely monitored by their mothers.
“Pinag-aaralan talaga ito but of course we will assume na sila talaga ‘yung closely monitored or closely cared for by their mothers at maaaring doon nanggagaling ang impeksyon (It is really being studied but we will assume that they are being closely monitored or closely cared for by their mothers and that may be where the infection comes from),” Vergeire said.
“That is an assumption. Pinag-aaralan pa ng ating mga eksperto kung bakit mas mataas ang bilang ng mga kaso dito sa mga less than two years old (Our experts are still studying why the number of cases is higher among those less than two years old),” she added.
Based on the DOH data as of July 11, the following are the number of COVID-19 cases, recoveries, and deaths among children aged 0 to 19 years old:
- Zero to four age group: 12,554 cases with 11,971 recoveries and 89 deaths among females, 14,357 cases with 13,660 recoveries and 129 deaths among males
- Five to nine age group: 13,164 cases with 12,598 recoveries and 13 deaths among females, 14,806 cases with 14,208 recoveries and 20 deaths among males
- 10 to 14 age group: 18,822 cases with 18,015 recoveries and 30 deaths among females, 19,597 cases with 18,760 recoveries and 33 deaths among males
- 15 to 19 age group: 30,151 cases with 28,873 recoveries and 60 deaths among females, 28,436 cases with 27,290 recoveries and 61 deaths among males
The government has allowed children aged five and above to go outdoors in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
Vergeire said the decision came after studies have shown that pandemic-driven lockdowns have affected the well-being of children.
The Health department has reminded parents to ensure that health and safety protocols are observed when children go outside, saying that children must wear masks, they should be supervised, and avoid going to crowded places.
“Nagkakaroon na sila ng issues both physically and mentally, at ‘yung kanilang developmental stages ay naha-hamper at naaapektuhan (They are already having issues both physically and mentally, and their developmental stages are hampered and affected) because of the lockdowns, because they cannot interact properly with other people,” Vergeire said.
“Medyo nagkakaroon na tayo ng issues kaya nagkaroon tayo ng rekomendasyon base sa mga eksperto na kasama natin, pero hindi po niyan ibig sabihin na binibigyan na natin ng laya ng sobra. Kailangan susunod pa rin po tayo sa mga pamantayan (We are already having some issues so we had a recommendation based on our experts who are with us, but that does not mean that we are giving too much freedom. We still have to follow the guidelines),” she added.