The number of children infected with the novel coronavirus has increased since the partial opening of schools in Turkey on Sept. 21, according to official figures, the Birgün daily reported.
Despite the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Turkish government opened schools for first graders and kindergarteners on Sept. 21. Other grade levels have gradually started in-person learning over the weeks despite widespread concerns among parents and health professionals.
While there were 2.9 COVID-19 patients for every 100,000 children aged 5-14 during the week of Sept. 14-20, this figure rose to 4.3 per 100,000 in the same age group in the Sept. 19-25 period.
Although there is widespread popular belief that children emerge from COVID-19 without experiencing serious medical complications, some children experience symptoms and infect other people.
Elif Dağlı, a professor of pulmonology, said that when analyzed the Health Ministry’s weekly COVID-19 reports have shown an upward trend every week starting Sept. 20 in the number of children infected with the coronavirus.
She said the number of infected children aged 5-14 had risen to 6.7 per 100,000 children in a ministry report released on Oct. 29.
Turkey does not reveal the exact number of the people infected with the coronavirus every day. The Turkish Health Ministry instead announces the number of “patients” who are being treated at hospitals for COVID-19, while people who have been infected with the virus but not hospitalized are excluded from the numbers.