COVID-19: Alarm in Indian state of Bihar as 20-day baby becomes youngest victim in state

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A healthcare worker examines a child during a door-to-door surveillance to safeguard children amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a village on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India on June 9, 2021. Experts said children faced greater threat during the third COVID-19 wave. Image Credit: REUTERS

Patna: A 20-day-old baby has died from COVID-19 in Bihar, setting the alarm bells ringing in the north Indian state.

Doctors say he is the youngest COVID-19 victim in the state so far. The death of the newborn from deadly coronavirus comes amid reports that the third wave may impact the children the most.

Rahul Kumar, a resident of Peernagar village in Araria district, admitted the newborn to a local government hospital in Purnia district some 10 days ago after the mother noticed the baby had breathing problems and was also suffering from cold and cough. The baby tested positive for COVID-19 during treatment in the hospital.

Keeping in view the baby’s health condition, he was referred to a government medical college and hospital in neighbouring Bhagalpur district on June 4. The doctors immediately admitted the baby boy to the neonatal intensive care unit and provided him oxygen support. The baby died on Saturday as the infection had reached his lungs and the oxygen levels had alarmingly plummeted to 65, according to the doctors.

“He is the youngest baby to have succumbed to COVID-19 in the state,” hospital’s paediatric department head Dr RK Sinha told the media. “We failed to save the baby despite our best efforts,” he added.

Second infant to die

He is the second newborn to have succumbed to COVID-19 in Bihar in the past one week. Last week, a three-month-old baby girl died of COVID-19 in Kishanganj district for want of proper medicare at the local government hospital.

The baby, daughter of Firoz Alam from Kishnaganj district, had been admitted to the local government hospital after she faced breathing troubles. She tested positive during the treatment and required to be put on ventilator support. As the hospital didn’t have a ventilator facility, it referred the patient to a government medical college in neighbouring Madhepura district.

However, the poor parents expressed their inability in taking the baby for treatment more than 200km away and urged the doctors to treat her there itself. The baby died on June 4 after battling for a few days. “We tried hard to save the bay but failed. She died from COVID-19,” hospital superintendent Dr Anwar Alam told the local media then.

On May 31, at least four children, three from a single family, died within 24 hours at a government medical college and hospital in Darbhanaga district. The hospital denied the victims suffered from COVID-19 but added they had “severe breathing problems.” All the children hailed from Madhubani district.

The second wave of COVID-19 has left a devastating impact in Bihar claiming a total of 9,484 lives so far. Of them, 7,906 people have died in the past two months itself since April 1. The coronavirus has also infected 716,728 persons till date, according to a state health department.