News Coronavirus ‘Previously well’ two-year-old dies from COVID
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‘Previously well’ two-year-old dies from COVID

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A healthy two-year-old child who contracted COVID-19 is among four people who died from the virus in NSW in the latest reporting period.

NSW reported another 14,970 cases of COVID-19 on Monday, while the number of people hospitalised with the virus spiked by 39.

NSW Health said the toddler, two women and one man died from the virus on Sunday.

“Tragically, a previously well two-year-old child from Sydney died at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead due to COVID-19 infection,” NSW Health said in a statement on Monday.

“NSW Health asks for the privacy of this child’s family to be respected during this most difficult time.”

Of the three adults who died with the virus, one was in their 70s, one was in their 80s, and one was in their 90s.

In January a three-year-old boy with a rare genetic condition became the youngest person in NSW to die after contracting COVID-19.

Both children were too young to be immunised but NSW deputy chief health officer Marianne Gale urged parents of children aged five and older to get them vaccinated “without delay”, saying many would now be eligible for their second dose.

“I’d like to remind everybody that booster doses for COVID-19 vaccine are available for people age 16 years and over three months after a second dose,” she said.

NSW Health says 48.9 per cent of the state’s five-11-year-olds have had one dose of a COVID vaccine.

Overall, 58.4 per cent of eligible people have had three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 79.3 per cent of people aged 12-15 have had two jabs.

ABC broadcaster and doctor Norman Swan described the child’s death as a one-in-10,000 chance that had occurred because of the increasing prevalence of the virus in the community.

It presented “a significant challenge” for paediatricians because vaccines were not yet available for children under five.

“It’s extremely rare [but] there are treatments for COVID-19, maybe we’ll start using them in children, even though the evidence is not strong,” Dr Swan said on ABC TV.

New cases of the virus dipped by 1843 in NSW in the 24-hour period, which ran until 4pm on Sunday – in line with a typical drop in the reporting of cases at the weekend.

However, there are now 1163 patients with the virus in NSW hospitals, including 34 in intensive care.

The increase had been predicted by health authorities, who say the state is on the cusp of a wave of new cases as the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 takes hold.

The researchers from the UNSW who predicted the explosion of Omicron COVID cases in January said the more transmissible BA2 had become dominant and would lead to a dramatic uptick in cases.

They are predicting a subsequent rise in hospitalisations and intensive care but say most who have received booster vaccinations should be protected from severe disease.

Cases are also rising in other states and territories as the sub-variant spreads there.

Victoria had 7,531 more infections on Monday, although there were no fatalities to report.

The state’s number of COVID hospital patients was up to 248, from 215 on Sunday. They include 20 patients in ICU and five on ventilation.

Queensland reported 6206 more infections, and two additional virus-related deaths. It has 243 COVID patients in its hospitals, including 14 in ICU.

There were another 898 cases in the ACT, although no more fatalities. The territory has 39 virus patients in its hospitals, four of them in ICU.

-with AAP