COVID-19 recovery rate for children with chronic illness equal to healthy peers

A poster showing healthy procedures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, hangs at a barber shop window in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (File/AP)
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Updated 03 July 2020

COVID-19 recovery rate for children with chronic illness equal to healthy peers

  • 4,909 cases have recovered from the COVID-19

RIYADH: The Saudi Health Ministry has said that children make up the smallest percentage of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Kingdom, and that there is no difference in the recovery rate between healthy and chronically ill patients, like those with diabetes.

“Thankfully, there are low numbers of positive cases among children in the Kingdom, and those who contracted the disease have recovered, even if they had been suffering from a chronic illness,” said Dr. Mohammed Al-Harbi, the Ministry of Health’s chief of diabetes centers across the Kingdom’s hospitals, during a press conference on Thursday. 
“According to studies carried out in Europe and China, 14 percent of diabetic children with COVID-19 showed no symptoms, while 36 percent had very mild symptoms, and 46 percent had moderate symptoms including fever but without breathing problems,” said Al-Harbi. “Only 2 percent experience extreme symptoms and no more than 1 percent of these children needed ventilators.”
However, other groups of children with more severe illnesses experience complications according to Al-Harbi, including those with cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, neurological disorders like epilepsy, and genetic immune deficiency.
“Despite that, there is no specific guidance for children (with) chronic diseases to stay safe from COVID-19,” he said. “Similarly to adults, they should be following preventive measures including washing hands and social distancing.”
Al-Harbi noted that when diabetic children become unwell, they should stay home unless they develop extreme symptoms, with increased blood glucose testing, and maintain insulin intake regardless of appetite to avoid diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a serious complication that occurs when the body produces high levels of blood acids.
“Withholding insulin intake is a common mistake parents make when their diabetic child is ill and has reduced appetite, which might cause this complication (DKA) that is related to lack of insulin, not COVID-19,” he said.
“Labored breathing, abdominal pain, fruity breath odor, and mood swings are DKA symptoms,” said Al-Harbi, adding “whenever these symptoms are observed, the child must be immediately taken to the hospital.”
Meanwhile, the Kingdom recorded 54 new COVID-19-related deaths on Thursday, raising the total to 1,752.
There were 3,383 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning 197,608 people have now contracted the disease. There were 58,187 active cases, and 2,287 of them are in critical condition.
In addition, 4,909 more patients have recovered from COVID-19, taking the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 137,669.
Saudi Arabia has so far conducted 1,727,701 tests for COVID-19.


Better in the long run: 2,600 join Saudi 10-day marathon

Updated 13 August 2020

Better in the long run: 2,600 join Saudi 10-day marathon

  • At least 40 nationalities were represented in all age groups

JEDDAH: More than 2,600 people took part in a 10-day walking and running marathon in the Kingdom, reaching a combined distance of more than 448,000 km.
At least 40 nationalities were represented in all age groups.
The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) launched the “Step Together” initiative as part of a series of competitive walk-runs. The SFA event, the first since lockdown restrictions were eased, took place from July 17-26. About 30 para-athletes joined the competition, making it a hallmark achievement for SFA inclusivity.
Tahani Ibrahem, a 29-year-old Saudi participant, said her Eastern Flames football club training encouraged her to join the marathon.
“I joined one other marathon in 2019 and won fourth place. I’ve loved running since I was a teenager,” she told Arab News.
Ibrahem said that she was happy that para-athletes included in the marathon and praised the SFA for giving people and communities a chance to unite for one goal.
“They are just like us. Disability is something of the mind, not the body,” she said.
Ibrahem completed 42 km in the 10-day marathon, spending five hours a day walking and running.
“We were thrilled to see such high registration numbers for our first ‘Step Together’ event,” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal, the SFA president.
“The diversity of participants for the first in the walk-run series was important to us. We recruited all ages and abilities for this event and are delighted that they made it their own. It truly was ‘Sports for All’ as we had many children and seniors take part, and we were proud to have a number of disabled competitors,” he said.
Those who met the distance goals were awarded with medals and e-certificates of the achievement. In the 21.1 km event, the fastest time was recorded by Mohammed Ayyash (1hr 11min 5sec), followed by Waleed Homidan (1hr 11min 59sec) and in third place, Osama Ayyash (1hr 23min 5sec).
Ronel Wienand, competing with the Riyadh Road Runners, was the fastest woman, completed the half marathon in 1hr 58min 7sec.