New government report misleads about COVID-19 in children

Dangerous assumptions not based on evidence

Government has published a paper on children admitted to hospital and ICU with a COVID-19 diagnosis. The effects on children have clearly been exaggerated and used to push unwarranted injections of healthy children.

The paper covers the period up to 31 January 2021. During this period the study claimed to have recorded 2,443 total possible hospital admissions (including asymptomatic admissions and repeated admissions of the same person) and 248 ICU admissions.

Data from NHSE shows that in the period to 31/01/21 there were 4,489 admissions of children. The study does not claim to capture all cases, it is a representative sample. However, there were only 291 ICU admissions of children up to 31/05/2021. Somehow this study managed to capture almost all ICU admissions while only including 54% of hospital admissions.

The reality is that 6% of children in hospital with a COVID-19 label had an ICU stay, whereas the findings in this paper imply a 16% chance of ICU admission.

Of the children diagnosed with COVID-19 in winter, half had no fever and a quarter no cough. The list of attributable symptoms has grown again to include every reason a child may be in hospital except for a urinary tract infection, an operation or a psychiatric condition. The latter presumably make up the 25% of children who were labelled as asymptomatic but tested positive.

The Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICUNet) publication demonstrates that only 35% of the children admitted to ICU were diagnosed prior to admission. However, this new government paper claims the figure is only 8.5%. Based on the PICUNet figure this would equate to 102 children over a period of over a year.

There are two more critical questions to ask before understanding this data:

  1. What would have happened if there was no COVID-19?
  2. What would happen if the children were vaccinated?

It is important to realise that children are admitted to hospital and to ICU every winter due to infections with respiratory viruses. Healthy children succumb as well as those with comorbidities. The government study shows that more than half of the children on ICU and over 40% of those on the ward had pre-existing comorbidities. Vulnerable children have already been offered vaccination. If we had no COVID-19, would these children have avoided ICU? There will always be a dominant winter respiratory virus and that must be factored into any equation when trying to minimise harm.

Finally, a dangerous assumption has been made that if children were vaccinated, admissions to hospital and ICU for or with COVID-19 would drop to zero. This assumption is not founded on evidence and using these figures will exaggerate what vaccines could achieve in this regard. There is also increasing doubt over how long any protection from vaccination lasts.

Even if we assume protection lasts for one year and make the outrageous claim that vaccinating healthy children manages to prevent all 248 children from being admitted to ICU (despite many having comorbidities and a number being diagnosed after admission) then over 50,000 children would need to be injected to prevent a single ICU admission.

A significant number of cases of myocarditis may result from injecting all 12-15 year olds, hence the JCVI’s decision to advise against the roll-out in this age group. Based on US adverse reaction data, at least 10% of these previously healthy children would have measurable damage to the heart muscle reducing its ability to pump. The long term effects of vaccine induced myocarditis are yet to be assessed.

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