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Voices ᐋ ᐄᔮᔨᐧᒫᓂᐧᐃᒡ

Covid, a children’s concern?

BY Will Nicholls May 9, 2021

Covid-19 and its variants are hitting the youth harder these days. Is it a concern parents should have? After all, only 2% of youth infected by the coronavirus are hospitalized across Canada. However, kids under 18 now account for 20% of new infections and that should be cause to worry.

Those worries have translated into action in some places. Toronto closed schools over concerns of the high rates of cases. In Quebec, Montreal schools are issuing masks to their students, even in elementary schools.

In Quebec, recently, a 16-year-old died from Covid complications. In the same month, a 13-year-old died in Ontario. Meanwhile, in British Columbia, infants – including a baby – died from a disease that all the self-taught scientists on Facebook say that young people shouldn’t worry about.

In Manitoba, a 10-year-old First Nations boy died last fall though he had no chronic illness or any other underlying condition. Manitoba’s First Nations have been particularly hard hit as they account for more than a third of the province’s known active cases.

First Nations people dying from Covid-19 are on average 20 years younger than the rest of Covid-related deaths in Manitoba. We may have become a bit complacent in Eeyou Istchee, given our relative success in limiting infections, but these facts should tell us that care is still needed to safeguard our people and especially the youth, our future.

Medical experts admit that serious illness and/or death among the youth is rare. But parents still need to keep an eye on their children as it will take some time before any Canadian child less than 18 years old will receive a vaccination.

In Quebec, the number of children hospitalized because of Covid infections has doubled since the first wave a year ago. Doctors say that if the transmission rates increase then more youth will contract rare – and deadly – complications of the virus. 

If you feel there is something wrong with your child, then go with your instincts. Get your children tested as soon as possible. Any delay, doctors say, can be fatal as Covid-19 symptoms can progress rapidly.

If, as an adult, you haven’t been vaccinated then you should do so for the children, the Elders and those around you. It’s the right thing to do to ensure the safety of everyone you love, including yourself.

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Will Nicholls is a Cree from Mistissini. He started his career off in radio and is still one of the youngest radio DJ’s in Canadian history, having a regular show on CFS Moosonee at the age of 12. Will was one of the founding members of the Nation, and has been its only Editor-in-Chief.