ALMOST twice as many children and young people ended up in hospital with Covid in the second wave than the first.
It comes amid fears a lack of social distancing and schools going back could drive up infections again in the UK – although we are far better protected with vaccines now.
A study carried out by the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium (ISARIC) found a staggering increase.
From January to July 2020, 764 young people were admitted with the virus, but from August 2020 to February 2021, 1,280 went into hospital.
The experts put this down to schools remaining open in the second wave, and new variants which were more easily spread emerging.
They wrote: “New variants have emerged, including the alpha variant (B.1.1.7) first detected in Southeast England in September 2020, becoming the predominant variant throughout the UK by the end of December.
“The alpha variant contains mutations that permit some immune escape in those who had been previously infected, with increased transmissibility, and more severe disease with higher rates of hospitalisation and death in adults.
“The emergence of the alpha variant in England also led to concerns of increased transmissibility in CYP as they formed a higher proportion of total cases in England when compared to the first pandemic wave.
“This may have been due to the emergence of the variant coinciding with a period when schools were open and subject to increased testing, but the rest of UK society was in “lockdown”.
“Whether the alpha variant, dominant in the second wave, causes different symptoms or more severe disease in CYP compared to strains circulating in the first wave has not been analysed in detail.
“We test the hypothesis that clinical characteristics of hospitalized children with SARS-CoV-2 in the UK second wave would differ from the first due to the combined impact of the alpha variant, school reopening and relaxation of shielding.”
The release of the study, looked at by Government advisors, comes after younger kids finally got the go-ahead this week to have a single Covid jab.
Children between 12 and 15 will be able to overrule mums and dads and choose whether or not to get vaccinated.
JABS FOR KIDS?
Office for National Statistics data indicates that most parents would be likely to accept a Covid vaccine for their child.
Around 86 per cent reported they would definitely, or probably, say yes.
In comparison, six per cent of secondary school parents said they would definitely not want their child to have a vaccine.
The symptoms of the coronavirus to look out for are different in children to adults, research earlier this summer found.
Children can still catch the coronavirus and get sick from it, but very rarely end up severely unwell.
Experts said parents should look out for the following symptoms in their kids:
- Fatigue (55 per cent)
- Headache (53 per cent)
- Fever (49 per cent)
- Sore throat (38 per cent)
- Loss of appetite (35 per cent)
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