In a climate of reporting that children are now falling ill with Covid-19 it is important to note that they therefore must have suddenly grown ACE2 receptors on their cell membranes that they didn’t previously have. These receptors are used by the virus to enter and infect human cells. Without them, it’s hard for the virus to hurt us. Children have fewer and less developed ACE2 receptors in their respiratory tract. They also have high Vitamin D absorption, and different coagulation, inflammation and immune system physiology which are all protective against this virus for complex reasons.
Whilst children can become ill with Covid disease, it is an extremely low risk and there is almost no childhood mortality relating to Covid-19. Children mostly develop no symptoms at all, or they have mild symptoms, then develop immunity which can protect them later in life. The presence of children in households, particularly households with elderly members, is protective to the adults they live with in places where SARS-CoV-2 is circulating. This is probably because of tiny exposures shared between children and adults in close contact, eliciting immunity without being high enough doses to elicit disease.
What an amazing coincidence that all these childhood physiological features have been lost? Meaning that all the new and scarey SARS-CoV-2 variants, despite being less dangerous, can make children sick and die? It’s all so confusing when science meets pseudoscience in a battle of the wills!
The latest “new variant” doesn’t affect children any differently to previous strains of this disease which they are largely protected against because of differences in youthful physiology. Media reports in the UK in early 2021 of children being at more risk of “the new variant” necessitated a public statement from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, to correct this false information.
When SARS-CoV-2 circulation increases in an area, and every person presenting to hospital is tested, then the number of children presenting to hospital – for any reason whatsoever – who subsequently test positive to having inhaled a virus which is not their reason for hospitalisation, will naturally increase. The number of children in ICU with a positive test also rises. And the number of children who die with a positive test increases. The number of excess deaths in children however, will not increase unless “pandemic Covid” is killing them. There has been no excess childhood death.
This is easy to analyse in wealthy countries who have diagnostic and disease surveillance resources. In impoverished nations however, whenever respiratory virus season hits, it is far easier to claim Covid-19 taking out the childhood population. Impoverished nations have been supplied with plentiful SARS-CoV-2 testing kits and machinery, but their diagnostic capacities remain unchanged. The level of panic being experienced can also overwhelm services which reduces the level of quality care that can be provided. This week for example, a doctor in Alabama USA has stated that the reason their ICUs are over-capacity is not because of excess patients but because of depleted staffing meaning bed numbers have had to be reduced. So much for lockdown as some sort of protective measure for health services. Introducing pseudoscientific recommendations to health systems across the globe was always going to result in chaos. Fear campaigns work best where health systems do not.
Unlike Covid-19, other respiratory viruses impact on child health significantly. RSV and Influenza are far more dangerous to children. When respiratory infection season hit Brazil earlier this year, children dropped like flies with Covid. Ill resourced health systems utilising testing kits for one disease on a background of high circulating rates of SARS-Cov-2 made detection of the virus more likely, and also the only virus able to be tested for. With one test comes only one possible diagnosis.
By contrast, when respiratory season hit New Zealand a few months later, courtesy of first world diagnostic capacity, children were ill with a range of diseases including RSV, Metapneumovirus and Parainfluenza. Precision diagnostics on a background of low circulating rates of SARS-CoV-2. Hospitalisations for these infections have occurred at higher rates than usual because of reduced herd immunity against all respiratory viruses, caused by reduced human contact across global populations. Lockdown does little to halt airborne viruses, but it does harm the human-virus interface.
Meanwhile in Australia, if you can’t find the virus, just keep testing until you do. In this 20 August report from Queensland the Chief Health Officer went on to state “we know what happens with young people, but this case is of no risk because they were in quarantine the whole time”. I wonder what it is that this ZeroCovid fanatic, also worried about sewerage in nearby northern NSW testing positive, actually “knows”?
Epidemiology has been weaponised by false headlines to keep us afraid.
We should all be very afraid. Of our governments and of our public health officials.