After the government took a first step on April 26 towards the relaxation of the confinement due to the coronavirus, allowing the departure of children accompanied by responsible adults, the number of infections in the age ranges of minors -from 0 to 9 years and from 10 to 19 years old- It has increased more than in any other group since then.
If, on average, the infections of which the age is known increased by 21.8% between April 26 and May 12, This increase was 35.3% in children under 10 years old and 40.9% in ages 10 to 19 years old. (The exits were authorized to minors of 14).
None of the age cohorts for which data is provided by the Ministry of Health experienced such a large increase. The closest was that of those over 90 years old, with 32.4%, followed by young people between 20 and 29 years old, with 26% in this period.
This same pattern repeats if you look at hospital and ICU admissions. In the case of hospitalizations, they increased by 29.1% in children under 10 years, while among young people from 10 to 19 years they grew by 26.85%. The mean of all age groups was 16.2% in these 16 days.
Admissions in the ICU also grew more among the minors than in the other groups (with the exception of those over 90), with 39.3% and 35.3% respectively for the two groups of younger people. The mean of all groups was 14.25%
What was the situation like before the walks?
If we go back further in time and observe what happened between the two weeks prior to the authorization of the rides (between April 12 and 26), we observe that patterns change.
In that period, the increase in cases in the youngest age group was 60.1%, slightly below the average for all groups (62.4%). The increase in cases between the ages of 10 and 19 was 74.5%, higher than the average, but exceeded by the groups between 80 and 89 and over 90 years.
On the other hand, if we go back another two weeks back (between March 29 and April 12), at the moments of greatest incidence of the epidemic in Spain, it is observed that the youngest age groups present the lowest increments of all groups.
In that period, contagions increased in the groups from 0 to 9 and from 10 to 19 years old by 91.3 and 79.7% respectively, clearly below the average of 138.9% registered for all groups. in that period. The increase in confirmed cases among the youngest was clearly less than that of the rest of the age cohorts, which registered increases of more than 120%.
Can you blame the exits for these changes?
The answer to this question is complicated, because the relationship between these patterns and the child’s output need not necessarily be cause and effect. On Monday Fernando Simón, director of the Center for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, already gave some brushstrokes on the matter.
The epidemiologist explained that, indeed, “in some hospitals, not many, they had detected that the average age of the people was somewhat younger”, but that “apparently” they were not due to the children’s exits. Simón pointed out that the progressive decongestion of hospitals and ICUs would have allowed the admission of younger patients as the most probable cause to explain what happened. “It is very difficult to assess”, concluded.
We will have to wait for exhaustive scientific studies on the matter to understand what has really happened.