Toronto child under the age of 4 dies with COVID-19

·1 min read
Toronto Public Health released few details but confirmed on Thursday that a child under four had died with COVID-19. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Toronto Public Health released few details but confirmed on Thursday that a child under four had died with COVID-19. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Toronto Public Health confirmed Thursday that a child under the age of four has died with COVID-19.

The public health agency said it can't release more details due to privacy rules, but offered its condolences to the child's family.

The tragedy comes as Ontario doctors again warn pregnant people to get vaccinated so their newborns have some degree of immunity. Dr. Eileen de Villa said the city is continuing to review data about how the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus affects children and confirmed while the vast majority do not have serious outcomes Toronto has seen some who require hospitalization.

"Of course we're concerned," De Villa said.

The best thing people can do to protect children is to get vaccinated and adhere to the public health measures in place to curb transmission of the virus, she said.

"We all need to do the very best we can," she said.

Children under the age of five aren't eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in Canada at this time.

It remains rare for children to get seriously ill after contracting COVID-19, however the province has seen the deaths of several young people who contracted the virus during the course of the pandemic.

Medical experts still stress that COVID-19 remains a relatively mild illness for the vast majority of children. However, a recent rise in hospitalizations among youth is likely tied, at least in part, to the Omicron variant's rapid spread.

Some physicians are also seeing early signals that Omicron's infection pattern — often impacting the airways more than the lungs — may hit some kids harder than adults.

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