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Activities involving children and adolescents last to be reactivated

Activities involving children and adolescents last to be reactivated

Epidemiologist Rodrigo DeAntonio explained on Tuesday that to gradually lift the quarantine for COVID-19 in Panama, one of the main factors that will be taken into account will be hospital capacity. Activities involving children and adolescents would be last to return to the new normal.
In the case of young people, it is because they could be large transmitters of the coronavirus, despite not presenting major complications of the decease.

To bring the activities back to normal for certain groups is challenging

“Some at-risk groups, over-60s with illnesses, and still children and adolescents, are always considered the last where activities could be gradually reactivated (new normal), especially because of their role in terms of spreading the decease,” said DeAntonio.

In Panama, there are 465 coronavirus cases amongst people under the 18. Of these, 218 are under 10 years old and 247 are 11 to 18 years old.

The COVID-19 does not seriously affect children, a situation that creates unknowns among the expert community.

El País Antonio Moreno, a pediatric pulmonologist, explains that there are several theories in this regard, including that children have a different immune system, that the receptors through which the coronavirus enters lung cells are less developed and that the vaccination of the triple virus could generate crossed antibodies.

Returning to the aspect of the gradual lifting of confinement in Panama, DeAntonio added that in addition to hospital capacity, it is important to have an effective reproductive number (Rt) of one or less and to have sufficient diagnostic tests to continue identifying cases.

On the Rt, the epidemiologist said that these days it is close to 1.

Why do certain regions have a low Rt?

The effective reproductive number, according to DeAntonio, depends fundamentally on three factors: "how many people do we interact with, the probability of becoming infected and the virus, which in the case of the coronavirus is highly contagious"

The specialist expressed, in relation to the regions with low Rt, that some of these elements combine to achieve this value.

"There are definitely differences in the urban areas, between the big cities. In them there is mass transportation, people coming to their homes, which may be in other area [from where they just came]. In some of the regions or provinces, such as Los Santos, the population density is not very high and the contact rate is not that high either, and this cuts off the possibility of the virus being transmitted. It cuts off two of the main factors it may have, "said the doctor.
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