concerns around a risky return to school

One week before the start of the school year, the return of children and adolescents to the closed environment of classrooms is a source of concern for many specialists, while the peak of hospitalizations in the fourth wave has not yet been reached.

All the more so since certain alarming signals have come from the regions of the south of France. As of August 23, nineteen children and adolescents aged 0 to 19 were hospitalized in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA), exceeding the thresholds crossed during the third wave. Figures to be linked to the record levels of incidence reached in these territories according to the movements of holidaymakers.

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“We have a few more children than usual. Currently, four to six are hospitalized permanently, against one to three in previous waves, announces Isabelle Claudet, head of pediatric emergencies at the Toulouse University Hospital Center (CHU). These are many small babies under two months old, whose parents also had the Covid. “ But for the most part these are not serious. “A newborn baby with a fever will necessarily be kept in hospital, whether he has the Covid or not. Many older children have tested positive but sent home because they are out of danger ”, specifies the doctor.

The same phenomenon is observed at the Antibes hospital (Alpes-Maritimes). “There are many more positive cases among the children than in the previous waves, which we detect incidentally, when they come to consult for other symptoms such as gastroenteritis., opines Ali Khalfi, head of pediatric emergencies. But we only see very few serious cases. “

“We must expect an increase in hospitalizations”

The greater transmissibility of the Delta variant mathematically causes more contamination and therefore more hospitalizations, without a greater lethality of the variant having been demonstrated so far. “It’s like a pyramid: the wider the base, the wider the top”, underlines Ali Khalfi, while qualifying: “It is possible that we will see more serious cases in the future, but there is no study yet to prove it. “

Despite the greater contagiousness of the Delta variant, “In France, as in the rest of Europe, pediatricians are not reporting worrying signals related to the severity of Delta variant infections, or an increase in more severe cases of Covid-19”, said learned societies including the French Society of Pediatrics, the Covid Pediatric Inflammation Group and the French Association of Ambulatory Pediatrics (AFPA) in a joint press release Monday, August 23.

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