As the coronavirus rapidly spreads, it has claimed its newest host, the youngest person in the world so far to have it.
For many mothers, despite the pain of birth, finally bringing their baby into the world is a moment of joy. Holding them in their arms, watching as they squirm and snuggle into the crook of their elbows and just reveling in the moment is something those mothers look forward to. So to be separated from them within just a few hours because their baby is sick is heartbreaking. And that is what one mother from the United Kingdom had to face when her newborn baby was tested positive for the fatal coronavirus.
According to The Sun, in the days prior to giving birth, the mother had been rushed to a hospital in London after she was suspected to have pneumonia. Tested at North Middlesex Hospital, it was only after she gave birth that her results for COVID-19 were shown to be positive. And just minutes after her baby's birth, he or she too was tested positive for coronavirus, making them the youngest patient to be suffering from it.
Within mere hours, the mother and child were separated with the latter staying behind and the former being moved to a specialist infections hospital. The news outlet also reported that medical staff was trying to figure out if the baby had contracted the virus during birth, or while still in the womb.
According to The Guardian, in a statement released by North Middlesex University hospital NHS trust, it was mentioned that safety measures were being taken in order to protect all those who came in close contact with the two patients.
“Two patients at North Middlesex university hospital have tested positive for coronavirus. One has been transferred to a specialist centre and one is being treated in an isolation room. The safety of our patients and staff is our top priority, so in following guidance from Public Health England, we are regularly deep cleaning the areas where the patients are cared for and staff who were in close contact with these patients were advised to self-isolate," read the statement.
Despite the fact that the number of cases of those testing positive for COVID-19 are rising, health officials say that pregnant women and babies are at low risk of complications. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists says that pregnant women are more vulnerable to catching infections, but “do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop coronavirus than the general population," according to Independent UK. “It is expected the large majority of pregnant women will experience only mild or moderate cold/flu-like symptoms,” the body stated.
Hence they advise not to separate healthy babies from their infected mothers and they can be breastfed. But, that being said, mothers who are breastfeeding must take the same precautions as everyone else, such as washing hands before touching their baby or the items that will come in contact with the baby such as breast pumps or bottles. Additionally, it is important to avoid coughing or sneezing while breastfeeding, says GOV UK.
While this newborn may be the youngest case to be diagnosed so far in the world, there are other cases of young children contracting the virus. Last month, a Chinese baby in Wuhan (the epicenter of the outbreak) tested positive 30 hours after birth while an 18-month-old boy also tested positive in Hong Kong recently.
It may be worrisome to share the details of this pandemic with your children, however, it is best to be open about it with them, according to Child Mind Institute. By talking to them about the coronavirus and how to take care of themselves, it can help them process what is happening a little easier. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the institute said, "Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe."
"Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” said Janine Domingues, PhD, another child psychologist at the institute. "You can say, 'Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.'"
Ensure that you and your loved ones take the necessary precautions such as washing your hands, coughing or sneezing with your hand covering your mouth, avoiding large groups and touching your face. For more information on the virus, read here.