25 infants among new COVID-19 positive patients
Date Published: April 30, 2020
The Department of Health on Thursday, April 30, confirmed that there are now 25 infants under 1 year old who have contracted the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Philippines.
“Among the 25, 6 na yung namatay (6 have died) and others have recovered,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing with media on Thursday morning.
Vergeire said the youngest case was a 9-day-old newborn from Cebu.
“Aming vineverify yung accuracy nitong mga data na meron tayo. Pero yan yung pinakabata galing sa Epidemiology Bureau namin,” she added.
(We are still verifying the accuracy of our data. But that is the youngest from our Epidemiology Bureau.)
Meanwhile, the youngest recovered patient is 16-day-old Baby Kobe from Muntinlupa.
The father said they had no idea how the child was infected.
Dr. Sherwin William Leonardo, a neonatologist who co-managed Baby Kobe while he was confined at the National Children’s Hospital, said the infant arrived at the hospital when he was just 5 days old.
They noticed that his stomach was enlarged and his parents reported that he had vomited and had not defecated. The baby was initially diagnosed with intestinal obstruction and had a fever. He however recovered after taking antibiotics.
While Baby Kobe was born at home, Leonardo said there seemed to be no complications from the birth.
“He was not premature. His activities and crying were normal after the birth, according to the parents,” the doctor said.
Vergeire said there is also no evidence yet of vertical transmission or for the infection to be passed from the mother to the baby immediately after birth.
“Kailangan pag-aralan, magkaroon ng ebidensya and then we can say (it’s possible),” she said, responding to questions about newborn babies at the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital who also tested positive for the disease.
(If there are studies, there is evidence then we can say it’s possible.)
This is also unlikely for Baby Kobe since Leonardo said the mother already tested negative of COVID-19.
Vergeire said the babies most likely got infected after they were born.
DOH data released to the public as of April 29 only lists 24 infants — 15 boys and 9 girls.
Sixteen of them are in the National Capital Region, 4 are in Calabarzon, 2 in Central Visayas, and another 2 in Central Luzon.
Two of those who died include an infant from Caloocan City who passed away on April 2 and an infant from Lipa City who died on April 3, which was later identified as the youngest COVID-19 fatality in the country.
Leonardo had said the NCH had 4 confirmed cases of COVID-19. One of them is Kobe and the other is a 14- or 15-day old male infant from Caloocan who died on April 2.
The infant was admitted on March 31 or 11 days after birth and showed signs of pneumonia and diarrhea.
“The baby had trouble breathing to the point that he had to be intubated,” Leonardo said in Filipino.
They also detected “severe acidosis” of high levels of acid in the baby’s blood.
“During the 2nd hospital day, the condition of the baby deteriorated…and he died,” Leonardo said.
Only one of the 24 infants listed in the DOH data drop was recorded recovered although the majority are either asymptomatic or only had mild symptoms.
All 21 “active cases” or those not yet recorded as recovered or died are asymptomatic or mild, according to the DOH data analyzed by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.
COVID-19 may be fatal for the elderly, the immunocompromised, and those with an underlying medical conditions but 80 percent of cases globally showed a high chance of recovery "without needing special treatment," according to the World Health Organization. Previous data showed low incidents of COVID-19 in children and babies.
The World Health Organization said COVID-19 symptoms include fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.