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Coronavirus: No increase in severe child cases, paediatricians say

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Doctors have sought to reassure parents that there has been no increase in the severity of COVID-19 cases among children because of the new variant.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said children's wards are not seeing any "significant pressure" from COVID-19.

It comes after a London hospital matron told BBC Radio 5 Live of having a ward full of children with coronavirus. 

Laura Duffel said the surge in cases was "much scarier" than the first wave. Ms Duffel, who has been working on Covid wards since the beginning of the UK's epidemic and specialises in children's intensive care, told 5 Live's Chiles on Friday show that people were "wrong" to say busy hospitals were merely a reflection of normal winter pressures on the NHS.

"This wave has just hit us so fast. It's literally in the space of a week that this has gotten so bad," she said.

However, doctors denied that the virus is putting significant additional pressure on children's wards across the country. 

Prof Russell Viner, president of the RCPCH, said: "Children's wards are usually busy in winter. As of now we are not seeing significant pressure from COVID-19 in paediatrics across the UK.

"As cases in the community rise there will be a small increase in the number of children we see with Covid-19, but the overwhelming majority of children and young people have no symptoms or very mild illness only.

"The new variant appears to affect all ages and, as yet, we are not seeing any greater severity amongst children and young people."

Dr Ronny Cheung, a consultant paediatrician at Evelina Children's Hospital, in London, added: "I've been the on-call consultant in a London children's hospital this week. Covid is rife in hospitals, but not among children - and that is corroborated by my colleagues across London."

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Source: BBC News, 3 January 2021

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