KEY POINTS

  • The infant was three weeks old at the time of death
  • More children are now requiring medical care after getting COVID-19
  • Children represent 17.4% of all COVID-19 cases in the United States

A three-week-old baby in Qatar has died after getting a severe COVID-19 infection, the country’s health ministry announced. 

The infant had no known medical conditions prior to the death. The baby is the second child to have died of COVID-19 in Qatar, the country’s Ministry of Public Health said in a statement posted on Twitter on Sunday. 

“The Ministry of Public Health confirms that a 3-week-old baby has sadly died as a result of severe infection from COVID-19. The baby had no other known medical or hereditary conditions,” the statement read.

The Ministry of Public Health also noted that while children have a lower risk of getting a severe case of COVID-19, more are requiring medical care in the current wave of infections than in previous waves. 

Health experts in the Qatar ministry still urge people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths. It is unclear whether the infant’s mother was vaccinated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Qatar has confirmed a total of 299,242 COVID-19 cases and 626 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Although rare, a rising number of infants have been dying of COVID-19 worldwide. In December 2020, an infant not older than two months died from the virus at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal, Canada. The baby also had no known pre-existing medical conditions.

This week, a four-year-old girl who was admitted to Quebec City’s Centre hospitalier de l’Université Laval also died of COVID-19. It is unclear whether the child had underlying medical conditions. 

In the United States, the number of children being admitted with COVID-19 has skyrocketed since December, with children making up 1.7% to 4.3% of all hospitalizations in states that report pediatric coronavirus cases. 

The number of children who tested positive for the virus in the U.S. has also risen to 8,471,003 and represents 17.4% of the country’s total number of infections. Overall, 11,255 children per 100,000 children are being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to a joint report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association published Jan. 6.

Paramedics unload a patient from an ambulance after arriving at Leeds General Infirmary hospital in Leeds, northern England on January 5, 2022; official data shows one in 15 people in England were infected with the coronavirus in 2021's final week Paramedics unload a patient from an ambulance after arriving at Leeds General Infirmary hospital in Leeds, northern England on January 5, 2022; official data shows one in 15 people in England were infected with the coronavirus in 2021's final week Photo: AFP / Oli SCARFF