The Iowa Department of Public Health has confirmed another child death from COVID-19.
“The child was under the age of five, and had significant underlying health conditions,” Sarah Ekstrand, the public information officer for IDPH, said in an email to Starting Line.
According to the email, the child died in March. Only two child deaths due to COVID in Iowa had been previously reported. The first was reported in August of 2020, though the death actually occurred in June of that year, also a child under five with “significant underlying health conditions.”
It’s likely the inclusion of the child’s death into the state’s overall numbers came in late April.
I am live and half-awake on https://t.co/HBIuGv3Xkq to obtain Iowa's 24-hour COVID-19 data. 5 additional deaths were reported, 1 of which was likely a child as the % of total deaths for 0 – 17 went from 0.03% to 0.05% this morning.
— Iowa COVID-19 Tracker: Sara Anne Willette (@amethystarlight) April 23, 2021
Iowa State Sen. Rob Hogg has repeatedly called attention to the issue of COVID-19 cases in children, and he said confirmation of this death is tragic, and exactly why Iowans should try harder to stop the spread.
“That’s one of the reasons why we need to do a better job of controlling this disease, to protect people who have underlying conditions,” Hogg said. “That’s no excuse for a death.”
Though COVID-19 has hit adults harder, it does affect children too. The latest findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that 3,782,724 COVID-19 cases have been reported in children since state and local health departments began tracking and reporting the data.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or have no symptoms at all. However, some children can get severely ill from COVID-19. They might require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe. In rare cases, they might die.”
“I just implore people to please help stop the spread of this deadly infectious disease,” Hogg said. “Can we please, please, please protect our kids to stop this transmission to them and from them and among them?”
Hogg also criticized Gov. Kim Reynolds for not doing more to slow the spread of COVID-19, and for pushing Iowa schools to reopen.
In January, Reynolds signed a law requiring every school district in the state to offer full, in-person instruction for students, despite concerns raised by teachers and administrators.
The CDC has said reopening schools can be safe as long as certain practices like mask mandates, contact tracing and physical distancing are in place. Reynolds last week announced she had turned down $95 million from the federal government to conduct surveillance testing for COVID-19 in schools.
The CDC also recommends improved ventilation in school buildings and that schools keep community transmission levels in mind.
According to state data, 0.05% of deaths have been in children ages 0-17. As of today, 5,959 Iowans have died of COVID-19 and over 370,000 Iowans have tested positive at some point.
“It’s so disappointing that we haven’t done a better job of getting this virus under control,” Hogg said. “I’m hoping and praying that Iowans will step up and finally help get this virus under control together by using public health practices.”
by Nikoel Hytrek