The recent death of an infant in Berks County, who tested positive for COVID 19, is sparking questions about how the virus impacts the very young

Written by on July 28, 2020

The recent death of an infant in Berks County, who tested positive for COVID 19, is sparking questions about how the virus impacts the very young

By Brittany Sweeney

July 28, 2020

The recent death of an infant in Berks County, who tested positive for COVID-19, is sparking questions about how the virus impacts the very young. WLVR’s Brittany Sweeney spoke to some of the doctors where the infant was treated.

The infant’s cause of death is still pending, but suspected to be due to suffocation, not from COVID-19. Dr. Christopher Valente is Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Reading Hospital. He says while they are still learning how the virus affects young children, there’s currently no link between COVID-19 and sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.

“Everything we know about coronavirus and young children is that they generally, if they have symptoms at all, because in many instances they’re asymptomatic, the symptoms are usually mild, and the patients usually recover without any major sequelae of that illness,” said Valente.

Dr. Bunmi Ojikutu is the Chair of the Pediatrics Department. She says they have not seen a significant number of small children come in with coronavirus.

“In the cases where an infant is positive, there’s usually an adult family member or caretaker that was positive first.”

Her colleague Dr. Christopher Valente, the Chief of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, answers the questions: does coronavirus make an infant more susceptible to sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS?

“There’s no link between the two at this time. We’re still learning a lot about this virus how it impacts patients of all ages, but specifically no, everything we know about Corona virus and young children is that they generally if they have symptoms at all, because many in many instances they’re asymptomatic. The symptoms are usually mild, and the patients usually recover without any major sequelae of that illness,” said Velente.

Reading hospital, like so many across the country, has new protocols in place to keep both parents and babies safe. Doctors say they try to educate the mother as well as an additional family member on coronavirus prevention practices.

“We have a team waiting in hospitals that will help them learn about safe distancing, social distancing, from the baby without completely removing a mom, who’s well enough, from the care of and the bonding experience from her child. There are things you can do like good hand hygiene. We still encourage breastfeeding, there’s safe ways we’ve learned to do it and we pass that knowledge on to families,” says Dr. Ojikutu.

She says they try to not only educate the mother on these practices but an additional family member as well.

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