Coronavirus deaths in children 'extremely rare': Live updates

Europe-wide study shows fewer than one in a 100 children who tested positive for COVID-19 end up dying.

  • United States health officials believe as many as 20 million Americans have contracted the coronavirus. That’s nearly 10 times as many infections as the 2.3 million cases that have been confirmed.
  • The pandemic is getting worse globally with the number of infections expected to reach 10 million next week, World Health Organization (WHO) head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.
  • More than 9.6 million people around the world have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while nearly 4.8 million have recovered, and more than 489,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, June 26

01:25 GMT – WHO warns of ‘very significant’ resurgence in Europe

Dr Hans Henri P Kluge, the WHO regional director for Europe, expressed concern over a resurgence of infections on the continent, saying Europe saw last week an increase in weekly cases for the first time in months.

“Some 30 countries have seen increases in new cumulative cases over the past two weeks,” he said in a statement. “In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that if left unchecked will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.”

The WHO later identified the 11 countries and territories as Armenia, Sweden, Moldova, North Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Kosovo.

00:34 GMT – WHO warns virus is ‘still circulating’ in Europe

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, warned European Union nations that they should continue to remain “on guard” for the spread of new coronavirus.

“Although transmission has been suppressed in most EU countries. The virus is still circulating. It is still deadly, and most people are still susceptible. This is the time to be on our guard, not to let it down,” he told a European Parliament committee via video link.

“This is the time for every country to intensify its efforts to find, isolate, test and care for every case and to trace and quarantine every contact,” he said as many European countries continue to relax lockdown restrictions put in place to tackle the spread of the new virus.

00:20 GMT – Europe-wide study shows child virus deaths ‘extremely rare’    

Fewer than one in a hundred children who test positive for COVID-19 end up dying although a small but significant percentage develop severe illness, according to a new Europe-wide study.

A team of researchers led by experts in the United Kingdom, Austria and Spain looked at the outcomes of 582 children under 18 infected with the new coronavirus, and found more than 60 percent required hospital treatment and 8 percent needed intensive care.

Only four died.

On the other hand, more than 90 children, or 16 percent, showed no symptoms at all.

Marc Tebruegge, from University College London’s Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, said that while the results shouldn’t be extrapolated for the general population, they were nevertheless reassuring.

“The case fatality cohort was very low and it is likely to be substantially lower still, given many children with mild disease would not have been brought to medical attention and therefore not included in this study,” he said.

“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people experience only mild disease,” added Tebruegge, lead author of the study published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal.

“Nevertheless a notable number of children do develop severe disease and require intensive care support, and this should be accounted for when planning and prioritising healthcare resources as the pandemic progresses.”

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. You can find all the key developments from yesterday, June 25, here. 

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