Death of Manitoba boy under 10 is rare but sad reminder of COVID-19 reality, expert says

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It is rare for children to have such severe cases of COVID-19, but the death of a boy under 10 announced on Saturday is another reminder to take the pandemic seriously, an emerging virus researcher said.
The boy is the youngest person in Manitoba to die of the disease to date.

“It is a very sad reminder of the reality of the situation we find ourselves in,” said Jason Kindrachuk, assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in Emerging Viruses at the University of Manitoba.

“This is something that we must continue to take very seriously and that we cannot lose sight of at this point. ”

Unlike the flu, which tends to have serious consequences in the young and old, children rarely die or become very ill after contracting COVID-19, which can provide some comfort to parents, Kindrachuk said. .

Jason Kindrachuk, assistant professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba, says it’s very rare for children to die from COVID-19. (Jaison Empson / CBC)

“But when we see these events taking place, it is an even more tragic reminder of our situation in this pandemic. Unfortunately, we still have a hard time trying to protect everyone around us, ”he said.

A provincial spokesperson confirmed on Monday that the boy had underlying health issues, but did not say whether his case was linked to a known outbreak in the interests of protecting his family’s privacy.

While the death of a child is tragic, Kindrachuk doesn’t think it will cause skeptics to start taking public health orders any more seriously.

“I don’t think this will be the point that will change things, but I hope that for those of us who are trying to find a way to get over this, it maybe gives us, again, the perspective that it is something that we must continue to take very seriously and that we cannot lose sight of at this stage. ”

‘A little bit of light’

Manitoba reported 487 new cases and 10 deaths on Saturday, and 365 new cases and 11 deaths on Sunday.

There was also a record 336 people in hospital with COVID-19, up from 327 on Saturday. Of these, 44 are in intensive care, a press release said on Sunday.

The numbers are “concerning,” Kindrachuk said, and signal that public health restrictions may need to be in place longer before the number of cases and hospitalizations stabilize.

“The problem for Manitoba as a whole is that the test positivity rate was extremely high and there was a lot of community transmission, so will there be enough change during this two to four period?” weeks to see a really big or substantial effect? ”

“It may actually take longer. ”

However, there is good news, he said.

The test positivity rate appears to be stabilizing. The five-day test’s positivity rate was 13.3% on Sunday, its lowest since reaching 13% for the first time on November 16. It was at a record 14.8% on November 26.

“We’re seeing at least some indication with some of the data that there may be light at the end of the tunnel,” Kindrachuk said.

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