The Israeli Health Ministry announced Monday that over 10 percent of Israeli children who have been diagnosed with coronavirus are showing signs of post-acute COVID-19 (“long COVID”), meaning they are suffering COVID-19 symptoms for over four weeks after initial infection, according to the Times of Israel.
Its follow-up survey of 13,864 children between the ages 3–18 who recovered from COVID-19 found that a staggering 11.2 percent reported symptoms of long COVID. The troubling figures come as child infections and death continue to skyrocket across the world as a result of the Delta variant which is affecting and hospitalizing children at alarming rates.
The survey further revealed that 1.8 percent of children under the age of 12 and 4.6 percent of those between the ages of 12 and 18 reported long-term symptoms 6 months after the illness. Among the age group of 12 to 18, chances of developing long COVID were higher among those who had symptoms. However, those who were asymptomatic also developed long COVID symptoms.
Long COVID is a multisystem disease still poorly understood, which can last months and possibly years. The symptoms comprise a laundry list of ailments including sleep disorders such as insomnia, heart palpitations, gastrointestinal issues, breathing difficulties, muscle and joint pain, fatigue, headaches and neurological issues such as cognitive impairment or “brain fog” and an overall lack of concentration.
With more than 200,000 children under 18 having tested positive in Israel, at least 22,400 children are suffering from lasting symptoms. The revelations are especially concerning for the youngest including infants and toddlers in early childhood crucial stages of development. Little to nothing is known about how long it will affect and potentially ruin their long-term development and lives.
Of the over 200,000 infected Israeli children, half of them were asymptomatic. This has created a situation in which many parents have to piece together information and determine the cause for what is afflicting their children and subjecting them to a growing list of symptoms. Thousands of parents have taken to social media to find support among groups of parents, as doctors lack knowledge of how to diagnose and treat long COVID.
According to Haaretz, Israel’s Education Ministry estimated in early August that 5,000 students would be infected daily by the time the school year started on September 1. Nevertheless, the Israeli government proceeded to reopen schools as planned. Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash stated that reopening schools will be advantageous because it will allow “experimentation with all the methods we want to introduce, such as quick tests, quarantining versus not quarantining, and gaining trust in serological tests,” underscoring the absolute criminality of the reopening campaign.
With the aggressive reopening of economies and public institutions worldwide, the ruling class and the mass media have persistently promoted the lie that COVID-19 has a negligible effect on children. With over 227 million people infected worldwide, it is becoming increasingly clear that children and adolescents are the most vulnerable populations especially from the effects of long COVID.
The awareness group Long Covid Kids, founded in the United Kingdom, reports that data coming out of the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that 34,000 children are currently suffering from persistent symptoms since COVID-19 infection. Data from ONS is showing that in the UK, 13 percent of coronavirus-infected children 11 years or younger, and some 15 percent of infected children aged 12 to 16, are suffering from long COVID.
In the United States alone, over 5,292,837 children have contracted the virus, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing 15.5 percent of all cases nationwide as of September 9. If we extrapolate the number of children suffering from long COVID using the Israeli statistics, this means that at least 592,000 children in the US are experiencing post-COVID symptoms.
Access to data is difficult to obtain for both children and adults. The World Health Organization estimates the figure globally to be 10 percent of all adults who contract COVID go on to experience long COVID.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table estimated as of this past Tuesday that between 57,000 and 78,000 Ontario residents have reported that they are re-experiencing or are currently experiencing post-COVID symptoms.
The ruling class and the mass media all over the world continuously claimed that vaccination of adults “protects children,” in order to justify the school reopening. Israel was one of the first countries to vaccinate their citizens against COVID-19. With one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, with over 61 percent of the population fully vaccinated and the older population receiving a third booster shot, the current average of daily cases has skyrocketed to 7,500. Their growing case rate and infections among children clearly demonstrate that adult vaccination is insufficient to protect children from infection.
A mitigation strategy based solely on vaccination will not be sufficient to stop the spread of the virus and will inevitably expose millions of children worldwide to the possibility of life-long organ damage. The Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International demand an international strategy based on science and democracy for eradicating the virus.
The international working class must organize and intervene to halt the pandemic and carry out lockdowns to drive cases down to zero. All non-essential industries and schools must be immediately shut down, and necessary public health measures implemented. Such a strategy can only be pursued in the fight for socialism and an assault against the ruling class which insists that the working class must learn to live with the growing death toll and long term illness affecting a larger number of children. The policy being pursued by the capitalist system can only be described as outright child endangerment and will burden millions with lifelong illness.