The great capacity of our society to respond to a health and social crisis like the one we are experiencing. The resilience with which all citizens, it is true that with some exceptions, continue to face this pandemic. The strength of the families and of all the professionals who have been at the forefront. But even something can always be learned from the most dramatic situations. The drastic decrease in infectious diseases, especially respiratory infections in children, has highlighted the importance of the social hygiene measures implemented during the pandemic. That is why I insist on the need to respect social distancing and the use of a mask until the immunity of the majority of the population is achieved.
What have you learned from this drama as a professional?
The strength of our public health system that has managed, in my opinion in the best possible way, an extremely complex situation. The dedication of professionals who sometimes endangered his own life. Collaboration between all professional levels and services to coordinate the response.
To get an idea: how many cases of common flu, bronchiolitis or pneumonia do you usually attend at the General Hospital of Elche for a normal year in minors?
The flu is not a disease that is especially serious in children, which instead acts as a carrier of the virus. Although it is highly variable, because it depends on the viral strain that affects each season, during the months of November to March about 15 children with severe or complicated flu symptoms usually require hospital admission, as happened in 2019. In 2020 only 14 cases of January to March and none in the November to December period when SARS-Cov2 was already present. In 2021, during the months of January, February and what we have been in March, no child has required admission for the flu. We can say that the fall in flu income is close to 100%.
The groups that reject immunization do not do so following logical or scientific reasoning
At what point do you think that minors will be massively vaccinated in Spain?
Minors do not suffer from the disease in its most serious version, although there are exceptions such as cases of multisystemic inflammatory syndrome and Kawasaki-like cases. However, children they can be carriers of the SARS-Cov2 virus. For this reason, in the future, when a sufficient number of vaccines are available and it is known how they affect the carrier state, they will probably be vaccinated. It is a situation similar to that which occurs with the flu, which seriously affects our elders, but children act as carriers. Pediatricians have asked the health authorities to allow the vaccination of the child population from six months.
The anti-vaccines are not convinced, but what message can be sent to those who hesitate to put any vaccine, not just the covid?
Vaccines have protected humanity from a wide variety of infections. For example, the smallpox it has been eradicated. Other diseases such as polio they only continue to affect children living in regions dominated by Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan, who reject vaccination. Scientific data support the use of vaccines for their efficacy and safety. The groups that reject vaccines do not, therefore, do so following logical or scientific reasoning.
We have seen many cases in adolescents of anxiety, depression and even self-harm, perhaps from confinement
And of mistreatment of children, due to the fact that the families are confined and with the most nerves on the surface?
I do not have data that indicate the increase in child abuse situations. In pediatric emergencies we have not detected an increase in cases of child abuse. During the pandemic, to collaborate with the Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine Unit, the pediatric age was raised to 18 years, an old claim of pediatricians, since late adolescence lasts until this age. We have had the opportunity to see many cases in adolescents of anxiety, depression, even self-harm. These situations may have increased due to the social distancing conditions imposed by the pandemic that affects adolescents so much, at which age the most important relationship is with peers over family.
Do you think schools and institutes have been doing the right thing this course to control the covid?
I believe that the appropriate measures are being taken. On the other hand, suspending classes as was done at the beginning of the pandemic I think was not the right measure. As we have seen after the return to the new normal in schools children were not the problem.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.