60% of COVID-19 Deaths under 20 had no underlying conditions

Reuters file photo
A man wearing a protective face mask walks on the street amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Tokyo on November 11, 2022.

TOKYO — No underlying condition was found in nearly 60% of patients aged under 20 who contracted COVID-19 and died in Japan after omicron variants became prevalent, the National Institute of Infectious Diseases has said.

Excluding those not eligible for novel coronavirus vaccinations, 90% of the cases had not been inoculated at all, according to an analysis by the institute, released Wednesday.

In Japan, only three infected people under 20 were confirmed to have died by the end of last year before the first omicron variant began to spread, while there were 62 fatalities between January and September this year.

The institute looked into 50 of the 62 cases, excluding those who died for reasons considered unrelated to the coronavirus, such as an accident.

The institute found that 21 cases, or 42%, had underlying conditions such as a central neurological disease and a congenital heart disease while 29 cases, or 58%, had none.

The institute also studied the 50 cases in detail and found that many were taken to hospital after developing such symptoms as fever, vomiting, disturbance of consciousness and spasm.

Many of the deaths followed problems with the central nervous and circulatory systems.

“Patients need to be monitored closely even if they don’t have an underlying condition,” the institute said.

Of the 50 cases, 26 had reached the age eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations. Twenty-three of them were unvaccinated, and the remaining three were vaccinated twice.