November 26, 2021 12:41
Coronavirus infections are rising among unvaccinated youngsters as new cases hover around 4,000 a day. Severe cases reached 617 on Friday morning and about 1,310 patients are waiting for hospital beds to become available.
According to health authorities, an average of 530 children and adolescents tested positive for coronavirus in the third week of November, up about 30 percent from the fourth week of October. Most were infected in schools or crammers.
Between Sept. 26 and Oct. 23, 99.7 youngsters under 18 per 100,000 population were infected, compared to 76 adults over 19. Last year, the number of infections was 130.1 among adults and 66.1 among youngsters, but the gap narrowed between the two groups this year and young patients overtook adults recently.
Among high-school seniors who were mostly vaccinated so they could sit the nationwide university entrance exam, the figure was a mere 1.4, significantly lower than among high-school freshmen (6.9) and juniors (7.1).
Some 95.5 percent of young patients aged 12-17 who were infected in the past two weeks are unvaccinated. The first-shot vaccination rate is just 42.7 percent and the full vaccination rate 17.3 percent in that age group.
The full vaccination rate among those aged 16-17 is relatively high at 48.7 percent but among children under 15 a mere 1.9 percent. Infections among the over-60s are also rising as their vaccine immunity wears off.
Prof. Jung Jae-hun of Gachon University's Gil Medical Center said, "Ideally daily cases should hover around 7,000 to 8,000 by the second half of next year, but realistically, we should prepare for daily infections reaching 25,000."
As of Friday morning, the daily tally of new infections stood at 3,901.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com